MiDAS: The Gold Standard in Minibus Driver Training
by Dylan Gallanders
The Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS) has been an intrinsic part of the community transport sector since its inception in 1994. As the training scheme reaches 30 years old, CTA’s transformation plan goes far beyond the regular minor amendments that have been made every 2 years. CTA has spent the past 18 months working in partnership with Hampshire County Council (the original developers of MiDAS) to transform the MiDAS offering. We are maintaining the original guiding ethos of ‘by the sector for the sector. Central to this transformation, CTA has been working with its members, trainers and drivers to ensure that MiDAS provides the training the community transport sector needs to continue delivering vital services that are safe, legaland comfortable.
We want to ensure that MiDAS continues to offer up-to-date, flexible, responsive, and passenger-focused training that represents the gold standard of driver and passenger assistance training in the community transport sector and beyond.In line with this, CTA is excited to launch the first phase of the transformation on the 2nd of January 2024, which will see a reimagining of the MiDAS Standard course.
The work isn’t going to stop there. Throughout 2024, we will work on MiDAS Accessible and all the other courses under the MiDAS umbrella.
What will the new MiDAS Standard involve?
In its current form, MiDAS Standard consists of classroom-based theory training and a driving assessment. From the feedback gathered, we’ve heard how difficult it is to make classroom-based training engaging because of the obsolete training materials and the amount of content that must be covered. This also means that by the time you are ready to get out on the road, there’s limited opportunity for each driver in the actual minibus. That’s why the new course will be broken down into three elements.
Online training and theory assessment
We have worked to develop an e-learning course which is modern, interactive, and engaging. Drivers will be able to complete the online course on a laptop, computer, mobile phone, or tablet at their own pace at a time that works for them. We have also worked with our Editorial Board—experts from across the community transport sector to make the course more concise, focusing on the information drivers need to provide safe, legal and comfortable journeys.
Individual Practical Session
MiDAS can only be delivered with a practical session in a minibus with the skills and expertise of Driver Assessors. By removing the time needed to bring drivers together for a classroom session, drivers will now have more time to spend individually with their Driver Assessor, where they can focus on their practical skills and apply the theoretical knowledge that they’ve learnt. Driver Assessors will have more time and flexibility to tailor this time to the needs and ability of each driver, working through scenarios and questions most relevant to the context within which the driver will be performing.
Being assessed to the national MiDAS standard will remain a key element of the course. Through greater quality assurance and more precise assessment criteria, we’ll be improving standardisation so that you can be confident that any driver with a MiDAS certificate has met the MiDAS Standard.
From the end of October, we will launch an on-demand webinar which will explain everything you need to know to be prepared for when the new MiDAS Standard course is launched on 2nd January 2024. The webinar will be available anytime so you can watch it at a convenient time. We’ll also be running regular drop-in sessions so that you can come and ask us any questions once you’ve watched it.
Driver Assessor Trainers
To reflect the new MiDAS delivery model, from the 2nd of January 2024, Driver Assessor Trainers (DATs) will be known as Driver Assessors (DAs). If you’re a current DAT, you will be required to watch the webinar, complete the new MiDAS online theory training to get the experience first-hand and then register on our new online system to deliver any MiDAS courses from 2nd January 2024. This will explain everything you need to know to start delivering the new course and more about the role of Driver Assessors.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.