Becoming A Bus Or Lorry Driving Instructor
You need to be aged 21 or over and have held a full, unrestricted driving licence for at least 3 years in the category in which you wish to instruct. Learning how to become a driving instructor means that you will be preparing fully qualified drivers for a professional qualification. You will also be in charge of a far larger and heavier vehicle. The maximum weight for an LGV on UK roads is 44 tonnes and the typical double-decker bus can weigh around 14 tonnes, compared to a modest driving school car that will weigh little more than one tonne.
Lorry drivers usually qualify professionally by taking a practical intensive course with a specialist driving school. While it is possible to become a bus driver in the same way, most drivers gain this vocational licence by becoming employees of one of the many companies operating service buses.
Bus instructors who complete the NVQ (Level 3) in Driving Instruction can apply to be listed on the National Register of Professional PCV Driver Trainers, which is administermed by People 1st, formerly GoSkills. This NVQ has many similarities with the syllabus for becoming an ADI and is gained through a process of evidence gathering to prove competence. A voluntary registration scheme for lorry instructors was set up in 1997.
Qualification for the LGV register involves a three-part entrance DVSA examination. Upon successful completion of all three parts, the instructor receives a certificate and contact details are entered onto this register. To become an LGV instructor, you must be competent at the planning, preparing and the presentation of driver training that is suited to lorries. The same instructional techniques and methods used by an ADI will need to be not only adapted to the much larger and heavier vehicle, but also tailored to a person that already holds at least a full car licence. Training routes need to be designed that are appropriate for the category of LGV being used. Also, a suitable area of land, for the manoeuvring exercise will be needed. The standard of the instructor’s personal driving needs to be beyond reproach.
This should be combined with an ability to demonstrate best practice, together with a running commentary. Report writing is also an important skill for all professional vocational instructors. Qualifying for the voluntary LGV register is very similar to the ADI for cars. The difference for the driving ability test is that it will last about 90 minutes and include an off road reversing exercise. Where the LGV has a trailer, there will also be an uncoupling and re-coupling exercise.
For the instructional ability test, role play is used and the examiner begins by explaining which of the nine possible pre-set exercises will be used. This could include someone who has previously failed an LGV test and needs extra training. The examiner will drive the vehicle and simulate faults; you will need to make sure that your instruction matches the standard and ability of the ‘pupil’ within the time available. As on the ADI test, you will need to observe and correct any driving errors and give your ‘pupil’ a chance to show what has been learnt.
THE DRIVER CERTIFICATE OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE (dCPC) QUALIFICATION
LGV and PCV licence holders who are working professionally must complete dCPC to gain their Driver Qualification Card. Existing professional PCV drivers must gain their dCPC by completing 35 hours training before 10 September 2013 and the deadline for current LGV drivers is 10 September 2014. After this date, to maintain dCPC, drivers will be expected to continue attending periodic training of 7 hours per year, to continue driving professionally. New bus, coach and lorry drivers complete the initial four part dCPC while they are training. The first part is a theory test (multiple-choice and hazard perception), the second part is also a computer-based exercise involving case studies relating to the working life of a professional driver. The third part is a practical test of driving ability and part four is a practical vehicle safety demonstration. dCPC has created additional training opportunities not only for driving instructors, but also other road safety professionals with the relevant background and experience. The approved courses are designed to improve road safety by developing the professional driver’s skills and knowledge in such areas as:
– Eco-safe and fuel efficient driving
– Defensive driving techniques
– Loading a vehicle safely
…. Health and safety, risk awareness on the road
…. Driving regulations, complying with relevant rules such as ‘driver’s hours’
…. Workplace equality and diversity
…. Disabilities and impairments
…. First aid
DRIVER TRAINING IN THE COMMERCIAL AND PASSENGER TRANSPORT SECTOR
Bus and lorry companies regulate themselves with support from quangos (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations):
1. People 1st (PCV/Hospitality/Travel/Tourism)
2. Skills for Logistics (LGV/HGV)
Any person giving paid practical driving instruction to drive a Licence Category B vehicle (a car) must be qualified as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). This is not mandatory for anyone looking to provide driver training on lorries or buses in the commercial and passenger transport sector. A visit to the People 1st and Skills for Logistics websites will provide more information about working in the commercial and passenger transport sectors, along with possible career opportunities.
See here to find out more about becoming a driving instructor.