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    • by Amanda Howard
      Information and Projects Officer

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    We all know that training is important. It can increase motivation and productivity; it decreases the need for supervision and reduces employee turnover; it can also increase safety and decrease work-related injury or illness. Most importantly it can reduce risk.

    In the world of transport, the voluntary sector has sometimes been viewed as less ‘professional’. This may be because the legislation that underpins the section 19 (S10b in Northern Ireland) and 22 permit system does not assess professional competence (unlike PSV Operator Licensing), nor does it require all drivers to hold a PCV D or D1 driving entitlement and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.

    However this legislation does not mean that the voluntary sector is any less able to provide transport in a professional, safe and legal manner.

    I remember my own days of working for a community transport provider and the demands on my time, resulting in long hours of very rewarding work.  I started as a volunteer in the office and it was suggested that I received training in MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme).  This enabled me to drive the organisation’s minibuses, but more importantly I had personal experience and was able to discuss the training with other drivers and reassure them that it was actually an enjoyable process!

    I progressed up the MiDAS ladder and became a Driver Assessor Trainer and was able to train our own drivers.  I then joined the organisation as an employee and continued training, becoming an NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier.  I then passed the Certificate of Professional Competence in National Passenger Transport and became the Transport Manager on the company’s PSV Operators Licence.

    All of this training, as well as the ability to put the learning into practice, drove up the professional credibility of the organisation.  We were able to provide more services to our members and to the organisation we were set up to benefit. This in turn provided a flow of revenue which was used to train more staff and volunteers.

    I also learned that whilst I was busy dealing with the day-to-day operations of the organisation, I wasn’t always able to keep up to date with all the legal issues we really needed to know about.  The CTA’s Advice Service was invaluable to have on speed-dial.

    Now, however, I actually work for the CTA and I’m excited to be part of the team delivering the our training programme for 2015/16.  In Great Britain the training is focusing on two of our Foundation Courses – Safe and Legal and Minibus Management.  Both look at minibus operations using section 19 permits and both are a must for any voluntary sector transport provider.  More information on all the CTA courses and their content can be found at: http://www.ctonline.org.uk/events/cta-events/default.aspx.

    CTA training courses are great not only for keeping up to date with changes in legislation and best practice, but also to network with other like-minded people delivering essential voluntary sector services.  Whilst you’re doing that, I’m working at keeping the CTA up to date with all of the things that affect our sector and everything you need to know to stay safe and legal. Why not book yourself onto one of our training courses; I look forward to meeting you!

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