Driver Training Awards Which Driver Training Companies Can’t Win

Nominations for the trucking industry’s 2016 National Training Excellence Award in Driver Training have opened. The purpose of the award is to recognise businesses and programs that demonstrate a specific focus on driver training.

Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Christopher Melham said that the training excellence award acknowledged those who look to the future of the industry. He also stated that “Training is one of the most essential pillars of industry safety…” and went on to also state that “Businesses that focus on training look beyond today’s profits to invest in tomorrow. This dedication to safety and our industry’s future deserves recognition.”

To be eligible to be nominated, an organisation must be able to demonstrate how they implement and manage a driver training program that fosters continuous improvement. The emphasis will be on how that organisation’s procedures or strategies enhance a safety based culture.

Well, on that basis, the ATA’s Driver Training Excellence Award certainly won’t be awarded to an actual, accredited, driver training (heavy vehicle licensing) organisation.

Is it just us, or can everyone see the sad irony in this?

Such an award SHOULD be hotly contested; not least by Victoria’s twenty-one accredited heavy vehicle training and assessment providers (including Armstrongs). Accredited providers are surely at the forefront of developments in driver training, seeking out new and innovative ways to deliver the best driver training experience to new entrant drivers, ensuring that safe driving behaviours and attitudes are engrained in new entrant drivers during their license training so as to promote a road safety culture, and looking beyond today’s profits in order to provide safe drivers for tomorrow – ok, ok, uncle, uncle, we can’t take any more, we are laughing so hard…and then crying. It’s a sad, sad situation we have all found ourselves in and it’s as serious as a heart attack.

It’s sad, because the transport industry itself has had to take on the driver training role, heavy vehicle license training (in general) has become a rubber-stamp exercise, and today’s profits are the be all and end all – stuff investing in tomorrow! End result is, industry has no faith in heavy vehicle licensing providers, new entrant drivers spend so little time behind that they virtually guarantee no-ne will want to touch them with a barge pole let alone entrust them with a rig and freight, and the industry is therefore forced to employ a large internal driver training team and spend more money on new drivers during a long on-boarding period.

It’s serious, because WE (accredited heavy vehicle training and assessment providers) are supposed to be the gate keepers. It doesn’t matter that the licensing threshold is too low (that’s our personal opinion) because there is nothing wrong with heavy vehicle training providers saying to Joe Blow (who wants a HR licence) over the phone “…don’t worry about the test, after you do 4 or 5 days behind the wheel you’ll be a pretty good driver and the test will be so below your skill level…” But no, somewhere along the line, providers got scared of upsetting the consumer – God forbid they insist that a want-to-be driver actually show some skill and not pose a risk to other road users (like your family and friends – think about it). This is was the beginning of the end…


So, back to the awards. Armstrongs can’t win because we can’t even give away free driver training. It’s a bit hard to show how you are promoting a safety culture when we have to practically drag most of our clients kicking and screaming to even an extra hours training. So in that sense we are forced to walk the fine line that is commercial viability and road safety. And trust us, commercial viability won’t win on our watch (Armstrongs Director sleeps easy at night, if you have met him, you’ll know who we are referring to. He would rather give you back your money than be responsible for putting a risky driver on the road)

But we can relax, it’s not like any of our competitors can win either. Because they don’t even try to drag them kicking and screaming…

If Armstrongs approach to heavy vehicle driver training and assessment speaks to you – and you know whether it does or doesn’t – then check out your heavy vehicle licence options here and give us a call. We’ll be happy to make the best driver you can be – spoiler alert – it’s going to take more than 4 hours!