When we entered lockdown, like many others, I could not help but worry about my businesses future and who would have thought that it would have gone on so long too. Being a half-glass full kind of guy, I knew I needed to think outside the box and figure out how I can adapt my business to the ‘new normal’, a phrase that has become commonplace now.
While I specialise in helping businesses embed a safe driving culture into the workplace, that is to have the right governance around policies, practices and procedures, my background stems from 30 plus years as a driver trainer.
I’m a great advocate of in-vehicle and in-class training, however, it can be disruptive on people’s day and costly too, now with COVID-19 not wanting to go away any time soon, face-to-face training is probably best avoided. This made me think, we are all getting so used to remote working and harnessing technology, my training needs to head in that direction too.
I invested in a Learning & Development platform and a home video studio, then set about planning a suite of courses. I got an interesting prompt to create a Safer Van Driving course as my first, after accepting a delivery for some equipment via home delivery courier.
The bell rang, I answered the door to be greeted, at a distance, by someone I knew, but, instead of working in his usual place, he is now delivering parcels for a courier.
I naturally asked whether he had been given any formal training on driving a van, the answer was no. I then asked whether he had driven a van before, the answer again was no. My next question was to ascertain whether he knew that when on national speed limit roads, the speed limits for vans are different to cars, he didn’t know that nor did he know about how to not overload a van or where to find the VIN plate which contains important weight information. Now this sounds like I’m being a bit harsh on the poor old guy, I’m not, why would this guy know this stuff anyway, if he’s never driven a van before or his employer hasn’t offered any guidance or training, it’s not surprising to get a lot of no’s.
This made me think, there has been an explosion in the home delivery sector, not just in the courier business, but businesses finding for the first time a need to get their goods to their customers themselves, in a van. This means that unless they are aware of the key difference in driving a van, compared to a car, drivers may well very easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law. If something really bad happens, the business could be culpable for not ensuring their drivers were appropriately trained.
So, as I’m sure you will agree, a Safer Van Driving course was a natural first for me to develop. After a considerable amount of planning, preparation, filming, editing and course setup, I’ve finally completed and published my first e-Learning course.
The beauty of e-learning is that it’s the least disruptive type of training we can do, you can work your way through the modules at your own pace and in my course, which has just over 100 minutes of content, it is sub-divided into eight bite-sized modules.
The learning outcomes are: Participants completing this course will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
- Legal aspects of driving a van
- What is or is not a car-derived van
- How to conduct a vehicle safety check
- Loading and unloading, including carrying capability of the van and understanding the VIN plate
- Effective speed management
- Personal safety
- Safe and fuel-efficient driving
- Defensive driving techniques
While the course has first-time van driver in mind, for the more seasoned van driver, especially if they’ve not had any formal training, this course is a great refresher of knowledge. For businesses, it’s a cost-effective way of demonstrating due diligence in that they have offered their drivers appropriate training.
The course culminates in a quiz, this is a great way of highlighting the key learning points and is the final stage before participants download their Certificate of Professional Development, proof that they have completed the course.
I’m proud to announce also that I am now an Approved Training Provider with the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire Skills Hub. This means that for businesses or individuals based in Staffordshire, 48% of the total cost of training can be reclaimed via a grant. This makes the training exceptional value for businesses with no more than 250 employees.
So, I entered lockdown with uncertainty, but I’m emerging with a new opportunity to grow my business and look after the road safety needs of businesses, something that I love doing.