You know it & I know it.
So let's get serious:
Driver CPC ain't perfect. Whichever way you look at it, there are elements in the CPC that need ironing out. There are other elements, some say, that need getting rid of altogether.
My name's Nathalie, and I've been coordinating CPC delivery for the past several years. In that time, I've worked with countless HGV drivers in helping them to navigate the sometimes-murky territory of the CPC, and assisting in putting together a training plan suitable for their requirements.
But enough about me. Suffice it to say:
I've heard all kinds of feedback on DCPC!
Some hate it, some don't mind it, some see it as an idea with potential.
No matter which camp you fall into, you want want simple thing: to make getting your 35 hours as smooth, pain-free and cost-effective as possible.
So let's not tiptoe around it any longer. Here are 3 ways to get the most out of your Driver CPC training.
Don't worry - I'm not selling anything today! :)
1. Book it in plenty of time
We see it all the time - you've left your 35 hours to the last minute, and now you have to take a week-long holiday just to be able to continue driving. It's not ideal - in fact, I've heard new drivers walking out into the fresh air after spending 5 days in a classroom, saying 'I'm glad I'll never have to do that again!'
But wouldn't you know it, in another 4 years, time's slipped away from them and they're chasing their tails trying to get the full whack booked in once again.
It can quickly become a cycle: a cycle that's expensive, disruptive and inconvenient. And let's not forget: going about it in this way can leave you at the mercy of high fees; with little time to shop around before your DQC runs out, you're left parting with a wad of cash you'd rather have rationed out over the course of 5 years.
So, how do you make sure this doesn't happen? Well, if you're a new driver, you've little choice but to do the whole lot at once, and get yourself on the road as soon as you can. If you're looking to renew your DQC, however, there are more options open to you.
It comes down to two things:
Shop around - while some areas have more CPC providers than others (South East, North East, & Yorkshire spring to mind), it's worth your while to assess how far you're willing to travel to get the best deal.
Plan it - Admittedly, some providers have more availability than others. One of the things I've seen drivers do more and more, however, is book their next course immediately after finishing their latest one. They literally walk out of the classroom, go to reception, check out the dates and pay there and then. And hey, if you've already shopped around and are happy with your chosen provider, booking again when you're there cuts out a lot of hassle!
And here's something that'll be news to you: a whopping 76% of HGV drivers haven't completed their full 35 hours in the run-up to the 2019 deadline! (There's going to be quite a rush later this year....)
2. Book modules you want to do
Assuming you've followed the first point, and have left yourself with plenty of time to get your hours in, you're free to can pick and choose which modules you want to do.
I mean let's face it. Doing the same module twice out of necessity is no one's idea of fun. And having to opt for Hazardous Goods Awareness when you're carrying pallets of stationary and the training you really want is in Drivers' Hours is not a great way of ensuring you're getting the most out of your CPC.
It's a flaw in the current system. Some drivers have asked me: why would the government force us to sit a training programme, then let us essentially sit the same course five times in a row?
It's a valid question. And I agree the current system is problematic. In fact - to lorry drivers who simply want to know what they need to know, and get out to do their job - it can almost seem like a punishment.
But it needn't be. The system works best when you've given yourself plenty of time. So, if you've done 3 courses, say, and have another 2 years to do your remaining 2 courses, then that gives you lots of leeway to skip the upcoming Company Docs & Procedures, which you've already done, and go for the Safe Vehicle Loading, which is pegged for later in the year.
3. Go for trainers you can actually speak to
This one's not always considered. Many HGV drivers assume one trainer is as good as the next - after all, the content's all the same, isn't it? But this isn't true.
See, believe it or not, there are providers who tell their trainers that they cannot in any way give tips, advice or opinions to candidates during the course. So basically, with these providers, you could ask the trainer a question, and he/she could tell you that they are not allowed to answer it. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But I suspect some of you will have had a similar experience with a CPC trainer.
The truth is, the companies these trainers work for will not allow them to give any information that is not included in the JAUPT-approved course content. It's a question of legality. Say, if a driver gets their question answered, and then goes out on the road and operates with that information in mind, then gets pulled by DVSA and uses that unapproved information to defend/explain an infringement, it could create a sticky situation for the trainer who provided that information.
Technically, anyway. In reality, it probably wouldn't. But some providers aren't willing to take the chance.
So what does this mean for you? Basically, it will be 7 hours of sitting in a classroom, listening to nothing but the sound of the trainer's voice as he reads aloud from PowerPoint presentation slides. And that's about it.
So, what you should be looking for is a centre that uses training consultants. Because they are legally able to act in a consulting capacity in matters of road haulage, they can answer your questions and provide stories of their own experiences, as well as hints, tips and advice that's not included in content itself.
This makes for much more lively and info-rich training, which not only helps the time pass quicker but also can give you practical, red tape-less advice that you can use in real-life situations.
So, there you have it. 3 ways to maximize your CPC training - in terms of time, savings and knowledge. Admittedly, as we near the 2019 deadline, time is running out for many of us. So my final piece of advice is: act now, and get in just before the rush!
But maybe you're wondering, how do I know for certain how many hours I still have yet to do?
The thing about this is, no one can tell you, not your training provider, and not your boss. The only person with access to that information is your own fine self. So, how do you check? It's easy, just go here: