What to look for in a heavy vehicle driver training organisation

Now sure, we are a driving training organisation, so the points made in this post will be benchmarked against what we believe should be the industry standard. It will also allow us the opportunity to highlight some of the strong points of our organisation. That being said, the points made and suggested questions to ask, will certainly help students when shopping around between providers, and may assist in securing a fair deal on quality training.

My motive for this post came from a student of ours commenting in conversation on why he chose us for his training. He said to me that he had phoned around a few places and explained to those who served him that he had (a) never reversed a trailer (b) he was very inexperienced at driving trucks, and (c) is a really nervous person. All the people who took his calls made it sound too easy, he claimed, and he believed (rightly so) that their offers were probably too good to be true. Fortunately for him, he was smart enough to know when he was being taken for a ride. Sadly, many students fall for these “too good to be true” offers, and many leave disappointed, with very little to show for their course fee. He made comments that he was sold on our honesty, and we were the only company that made it clear that he would probably need more time (compared to the average student), to complete the licence assessment, based on his over-the-phone training needs analysis.

So, what to look for and what questions to ask when shopping around?

1) Will the company provide a written (emailed) quotation, detailing all fees payable, and the amount of hours included in the package price?

2) Does the company allow for the agreed course hours to be carried over to another training date, if the training is too much to be absorbed in one whole day?

3) Does the organisation have a clearly defined, accessible, and reasonable refund policy?

4) Is the company a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and an RMS Accredited Provider of Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment (HVCBA), or do they partner with one?

5) What is the age of the truck/s the company provides for training?

6)  How well does the trainer communicate in English?

7) Do their trainers use session plans?

8) Does the company provide access to appeals and complaints forms?

9) Does the company provide a genuine list of testimonials of students?

10) How many years of experience in the training industry has the company got?

11) Is the company serious about safety?

At Alltruck Driver Training, all students receive an emailed quote at the point of an email enquiry, and a booking conformation reconfirming the course fees. Both enquiry and booking conformation include a clearly defined amount of hours the student is entitled to receive to achieve their licence. Our allowance for training hours often exceeds the average amount of time needed to achieve the competent standard and complete the program. We agree to supply “up to” an amount of hours, as to increase the likelihood that students will succeed, and leave us satisfied.

At Alltruck Driver Training course hours can be carried over to another training date, if it suits the applicants progression towards success, or if it is in the interest of Work Health and Safety (fatigue management). A condition we impose is that course credit must be consumed within 6 months from enrolment, as detailed in our refund policy. Another condition is the course hours are personal and non-transferable to any other student, and that the credit is only to be used towards the course that the student is enrolled in, and expires at the time when the student has successfully completed the training program.

At Alltruck Driver Training we have our refund policy posted on the Home and FAQ pages of our website, and in our student handbook, and send it to each student in our booking conformation. We have a very fair policy, written in plain English, which has been audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). We often rule in favour of the student, contrary to our refund policy. This includes matters such as a late cancellation due to genuine sickness, sicknesses or deaths in the family, mistakes made by the RMS when issuing logbooks, etc. We don’t compromise when students don’t show up for training because they simply slept in; that is not acceptable in the workplace, and is not acceptable at our training organisation either.

Alltruck Driver Training is an RTO and an RMS Accredited Provider of Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment (HVCBA). We genuinely believe that being an RTO improves our quality, and significantly influences our approach to student satisfaction. We are at the forefront of assessment validity, with a direct line of contact with the RMS. We engage with the RMS on matters including: ambiguities, errors, suggested improvements, and/or areas which are reasonably likely to cause difficulties or delays in carrying out assessments. Our trainers speak with other trainers who are partnered with RTOs, and are amazed at how confused they are on matters such as compliance, and assessment procedures. Our staff training/induction system is simple: Internal training and induction – moderation and internal audit – validation, continuous improvement and professional development. As an RTO we effectively engage the industry, and we set out to contextualise our training to meet the needs of the drivers of today.

At Alltruck Driver Training we use a combination of near new (we purchased a brand new Heavy Rigid vehicle in 2010) and mid to late 90’s vehicles. We have four vehicles, and for us to have a fleet of brand new vehicles would require that we charge more than the market is willing to pay. We cost-benefit-analyse our equipment, and sell off and purchase based on the analysis. All our vehicles are well maintained, with a recent addition of two brand new Isri seats in one of our trucks, at a cost of over $5500. We have plans to purchase another brand new truck in the near future. We often hear horror stories of sub-par quality training vehicles, with issues such as wandering steering, faulty gearboxes, etc. Vehicle age is not the most important issue, but something to factor in.

At Alltruck Driver Training all of our trainers speak fluent English, and provide very clear instruction.

At Alltruck Driver Training all trainers have continuously revised session plans, which can be contextualised to your needs.

At Alltruck Driver Training all student receive an appeal and compliant form in their student handbook. We are very proud of the fact that (at the time of writing) no student has ever appealed or complained.

On the Alltruck Driver Training website, we proudly display a rapidly growing list of satisfied students comments (see here)

Our family company has been in the driver training industry since approximately 1980. We’ve had a few name changes in our 30 plus year history.

At Alltruck Driver Training, we are serious about safety and we do require that safety clothing (high visablity Vest/Shirt/Jacket/Jumper) is to be worn at all times during the training (we supply a vest if you do not own one or forget to bring your own). A Work Safety Analysis gets completed at the start of every program. Work Health and Safety is a standing agenda item in staff meetings. All staff have participated in the development of a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) relative to the training and assessment activity.