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Use apprenticeship cash to fund driver training, fleets urged

Fleets should use funds from the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy to provide driver training, keeping young workers safer and potentially saving lives.  

One in three road collisions involve someone driving in the course of work and it’s also a well-known fact that young drivers are the most at risk group on our roads.

As such, IAM RoadSmart says providing driver training to all apprentices who will be using a vehicle in the course of their work has the potential to make a huge contribution to road safety.

And it adds that the apprenticeship training is an ideal way to provide this.

Since the Levy was introduced in 2017, latest government figures show it has directly supported 312,900 people to start their apprenticeship journey. Last week also saw the Government announce that employers of all sizes can apply for a cash boost (of up to £2,000 per apprentice under 25) to help them take on new apprentices and get more people into work.

Not only is IAM RoadSmart encouraging businesses to get on board and make sure driver training is a part of apprenticeship development, but its interim CEO Tony Greenidge has also written to the chancellor urging the Government to consider making it clearer that corporate driver training is included in the list of training activities that can be funded from the levy.

The road safety organisation said this would bring three key benefits, including ensuring businesses are able to make best use of their annual levy contribution, providing both business and social benefits.

It would also allow employers to implement the minimum driving for work requirements, as set out in current Health & Safety legislation; helping to contribute to a reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads.

And with many businesses under pressure to survive, upskilling apprentices would help them optimise the efficiency of their labour force.

In addition, it would also bring benefits from the environment; safer and more economic driving is proven to reduce fuel use by up to 10%.

Greenidge elaborated: “Providing driver training to all apprentices who will be using a vehicle in the course of their work has the potential to make a huge contribution to road safety. For a minimum investment formal driver training is a valuable additional skill that will enhance their working life and bolster their CV at a time when employment prospects for young people are expected to be particularly tough.

“Around 90% of all collisions are caused by human error and typically one in four fleet vehicles is affected each year. With costs averaging £1,700 per incident there are real financial and operational benefits for businesses, the Government and the general public.

“It is well-known that young drivers are the most at risk group on our roads. Improved driving skills and a safer attitude to driving are, we believe, key benefits that will assist young people and help keep them employable in the current economic crisis.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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