A New Professional Register for Bus and Coach Instructors’

John Bowman from National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) provides an important update on the development of the new PSV (Public Service Vehicle) Instructor register.

In May 2022, JAUPT (Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training) advised the transport and logistics industry that the current professional register for bus and coach driving Instructors was closed for new entry and that the NRI had been selected, following an open invitation, to develop and operate a new register.  

NRI conducted initial discussions within the PSV industry during July, with the aim of sharing proposals in the autumn and launching a new register in late 2022.

In August 2022, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a call for evidence about a number of possible changes to vocational (LGV/HGV and PSV) driving licences and vocational driving Instructor training and qualification. One area of the call asks for evidence relating to pros and cons of a compulsory training and registration scheme for all vocational driving Instructors. The call specifically asks if both LGV/HGV and PSV Instructors should be included in any scheme and seeks views on the impact of the publication of the test pass rates attributable to each Instructor.

The full call for evidence can be viewed here.

The closing date for the call for evidence is 28th October 2022 and all organisations and individual Instructors are encouraged to submit responses.

Given that the DfT call for evidence and the work NRI had started are covering the same issues, Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), JAUPT and NRI have agreed that NRI should pause its work so that the same questions aren’t being asked of the industry twice. NRI will await the publication of the report from the call for evidence, see the direction in which the industry wants to move, and respond accordingly.

New NRI Manager brings ‘experience from all angles’

The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) has announced the highly experienced Steven Schmidt as its new Manager. As an Instructor, who himself joined the register back in 2019, Steven is looking to use his experience and knowledge to support the not-for-profit organisation, as well as LGV Instructors across the nation.

“I am keen to continue the good work and maintain the high standards of the NRI, that have been in place since 2017,” says Steven, who took on the role from the 1st April 2022. “I am also looking forward to working with the team to build the scope of the NRI. There are some exciting plans in development, which will no doubt benefit exam centres, Instructors and Assessors, and the industry as a result.”

Steven’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for the transport and logistics industry. LGV Instructors, LGV Assessors, Driver CPC Instructors and their employers continue to face the challenges of the national driver shortage. On top of that, many are navigating the return to delivering high quality training to support the economy, following the pandemic.

The NRI is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to give back to the industry, with professional development at the heart of it. It is the only DVSA endorsed register led by the industry, for the industry. Looking to the future, Steven aims to further develop and grow the NRI, to enhance the level of support given to registered NRI members. NRI will continue to be a trusted and valuable source of information for existing and new members.

Alongside dedicated CPD events, the NRI will continue to support the industry in overcoming AFV (Alternatively Fuelled Vehicle) challenges, acquiring new skills, and improving pass rates.

Steven registered with the NRI back in May 2019, then joined RTITB in June 2021 as an examiner, auditor, and assessor.

“Having completed his own journey from LGV Driver to Registered LGV Instructor, the role of NRI Manager is very fitting for Steven,” says Ruth Edwards, Operations Director of the NRI. “He has seen NRI from all angles, making him a worthy advocate for all sides. Now he will be able to share his skills and knowledge with a wider audience.”

Having gained his LGV licence while serving in the armed forces in 1998, Steven went on to be a professional driver (covering general haulage, supermarket vehicles, tankers and tippers) for 12 years. Steven began working as an LGV Instructor in 2014, as well as training for license acquisition, Module 4, Driver CPC and MHE. He completed his Transport Manager CPC in 2019 and worked part time as an external Transport Manager, alongside driver training.

The NRI is operated by RTITB, the preferred regulatory body for workplace transport training, on a not-for-profit basis. It is also supported by Logistics UK and the RHA (Road Haulage Association).

Employers, Instructors, and Assessors can find details of the NRI, and more information, by visiting www.lgvinstructorregister.com.

DVSA Update 30th November: Wearing Face Coverings On Driving Lessons and Tests in Scotland

It is now law in Scotland to wear a face covering during a driving test and on driving lessons.

If a pupil cannot wear a face covering, they must tell DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) before arriving for their test.

The driving examiner can refuse to carry out the test if they or their pupil are not wearing a face covering when you arrive at the test centre. DVSA will not refund these tests.

The examiner will not refuse if you both live in the same household, or you have a good reason not to wear one.

Good reasons not to wear a face covering include:

  • a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
  • wearing a face covering would cause severe distress

For further guidance, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

Important Information: DVSA Update – England Lockdown – November to December 2020

Wednesday 11th November 2020.

National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) received an update from DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) today – 11th November 2020 – advising that Driver CPC Instructor training can be carried out in a suitable Covid-secure classroom-style location environment if it is not possible to deliver the training remotely. All in-cab LGV and Driver CPC training and testing will remain suspended during the second national lockdown – 5th November to 2nd December 2020.

In the light of this update, NRI practical examinations for LGV Instructors and LGV Assessors will also be suspended during the lockdown, but that NRI Driver CPC Instructor training and examinations can be delivered remotely via webinar or video-conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams and Skype. Due to the Covid-19 situation this year we understand that remote training and examinations are new to many of you and we offer full support in setting up, so please contact us.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

Tuesday 3rd November 2020.

Vehicle testing 

The national restrictions do not affect the DVSA heavy vehicle testing service and ATFs can remain open. DVSA can continue to provide the vehicle standards assessors needed to test heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) safely. You should only book your vehicle or trailer in for its test close to its MOT due date. This will make sure vehicles and trailers which legally need a test can get one. You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers. This is a legal requirement under your operator’s licence.

Vocational theory tests

Vocational theory tests will be affected during the national restrictions in England. All theory tests will be suspended from Thursday 5 November and restart on Wednesday 2 December 2020. DVSA is emailing everyone with a test booked in England to let them know their test has been put on hold and they will need to reschedule it here. Driver CPC courses can continue during these dates if they are delivered online. All face to face CPC courses will be suspended until Wednesday 2 December.

Monday 2nd November 2020.

In light of the Prime Ministers update on Saturday 31st October 2020 around further lockdown measures being introduced in England, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) are working closely with the Government to agree the impact these will have on DVSA services.

Driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5th November until 2nd December 2020. DVSA will be contacting affected test candidates in due curse.

Following these guidelines, National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) practical examinations (for LGV Instructor and LGV Assessor) will also be suspended during this time. As we did during the spring ‘lockdown’ NRI will conduct NRI theory examinations and remote in-class practical examinations.

Driver CPC Instructor examinations are still able to be conducted completely remotely however, we recommend training with an exam centre before presenting for the exam.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

If you have any concerns or questions please do get in touch with us.

LGV Practical Driving Test pass rates rise with NRI

Improving Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) practical test pass rates

New DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) data for Great Britain shows that in 2019/20, 40,000 LGV drivers passed their Practical Driving Test. A longer look at the data shows that pass rates have been improving. In 2007/08 the overall UK pass rate was 46% but by the end of 2019/20 it had reached 59%. This means that investment in LGV driver training is increasingly likely to result in a successful outcome.

Why are rates improving?

National Standards

DVSA examiners use the national driving standards; set and maintained by experts at DVSA. Test performance, on the open road and during the manoeuvres is assessed entirely against these standards. Whether tests are carried out at DVSA test centres or at test centres based at driver training schools or at haulage companies, the test standard is the same. These standards underpin the familiar Driving Test Report form (DL25) which all candidates are given at the end of their test.   These standards have not changed in the past ten years, so the answer to the improvement in test pass rates must lie elsewhere.

Better Training

LGV driver training takes place through in-company driver training schools or through specialist LGV driver training organisations. In both settings, the past ten years have seen a number of changes which help explain the improving LGV practical test pass rates:

  • Professional Instructors

Road Haulage companies, driver training schools and individual instructors have invested in training and development. They’ve recognised that to prepare candidates properly, the knowledge and skills of professional instructors need be up to date and accurate. Since 2017, over 550 individual LGV Instructors have demonstrated their professionalism by joining the National Register of LGV Instructors. The independent, DVSA-backed exam thoroughly tests their knowledge of driving theory, Highway Code, in-cab and classroom instructional skills to make sure they work to a consistently high quality, enabling them to give their pupils the best opportunity to build their own knowledge and skills. 

  • Professional Facilities

23 LGV driver training organisations have demonstrated their commitment to professional LGV Instructors by becoming NRI examination centres. As well as ensuring their own instructors are members of the NRI, they offer their modern and professional facilities and expertise to all LGV Instructors, Assessors and Driver CPC Instructors who want to build their instructional skills and achieve the NRI qualification. LGV Driver training increasingly takes place in an environment which is more conducive to acquiring professional driving skills.

  • Better Vehicles

The vehicles currently used in road haulage fleets are significantly more sophisticated than they were ten years ago. The most obvious change is the widespread use of automatic gearboxes, but a range of improvements mean that vehicles are less physically demanding to drive, enabling a driver to focus on more precise control of the vehicle. This improved specification is increasingly reflected in the vehicles used for training, both in-house and by driver training schools. 

For more information on NRI qualifications and how to join the register, please contact our team who will be happy to help.

September 2020 Update: DVSA Vocational Training Virtual Meeting

Last week (28th September 2020), National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) held a virtual meeting with Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) to discuss current issues in vocational driver testing. The session started with an update from Mark Winn, DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner on their Covid-19 response and the restart of LGV testing.

This led to a lively sharing of experiences and ideas based on questions from NRI registered instructors and examination centres, focussing on the measures in place as a result of Covid-19. Those attending asked that NRI and DVSA arrange another session as the restart programme continues. Key messages from the meeting were:

Capacity

  • DVSA are working to get back to a national, 3-week appointment availability – the pre-pandemic level of service – as soon as possible.
  • Capacity was boosted from 28th September when extra/overtime test slots became available and will increase again from 19th October 2020 when LGV examiners will resume carrying out 4 tests per day.

Local lockdowns

  • So far, DVSA have been able to continue operating during the new local lockdown rules, across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Unlike March 2020, DVSA now have Covid-related standard operating procedures, Covid-secure sites, office social distancing, stockpiles of face coverings and sanitiser.

What should instructors and candidates do on test day?

  • Make sure that candidates follow the government’s guidelines on staying safe.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on a driving test unless an exemption is declared at the time of booking. Candidates should practice in one that fits suitably in advance of their test. If misting up of glasses becomes a road safety concern the candidate will be directed back to the test centre where the test will be terminated.
  • Instructors with valid medical exemptions are allowed to remove masks at Test Centres.
  • There is restricted access and movement around driving test centres. This means that waiting rooms are closed, but given the winter months are coming, DVSA are looking at possible options to resolve this.

Test Bookings

  • DVSA recognise the problems the current, significant wait time for theory tests are creating and are looking at measures to increase theory test availability.
  • The booking system is a national service, which means that training companies are entitled to book tests in all areas, provided ‘local lockdown’ restrictions prohibiting movement are not in place.
  • The number of tests on the booking system opening day is designed to share the overall number out fairly based on the booking history.

Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) – training only you can deliver

The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) is responsible for issuing Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) training certificates on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) and since the end of August 2019, we’ve issued 965 certificates. This training is delivered by NRI registered LGV Instructors.

To support this, NRI has created training materials for Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) Training. NRI registered LGV instructors are amongst an exclusive few permitted to offer AFV training, providing certain rules are followed. NRI’s AFV Training Pack is compliant with the published syllabus and include an Instructor PowerPoint. From just £35 + VAT, the Training Pack is split into three course sessions:

  1. Operation and driving behavior of the AFV’s you will be driving (Electric or LNG or Hydrogen)
  2. Important legal, safety and vehicle operating issues which apply all van drivers
  3. Practical session

To purchase your copy, please get in touch.

An AFV is classed as a motor which is powered by either electricity, natural gas, biogas, hydrogen or hydrogen and electricity.

UK law now permits Category B driving licence holders to drive an alternatively-fuelled vehicle weighing up to 4.25 tonnes. The recent change in legislation will enable organisations to introduce AFV into their fleets, as well as supporting the government and the light commercial vehicles sector in increasing its access to cleaner alternatives. Under the new legislation, the AFVs should not be driven outside of Great Britain or tow a trailer, and must be used for the transportation of goods.

Drivers must have completed a minimum of 5 hours training which follows the syllabus published by the Department of Transport in order to be permitted to operate the vehicle.

Anyone found driving an AFV vehicle up to 4.25 tonnes on a Category B licence without having completed 5 hours of training will be guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act (1998).

Upon completion of successful AFV training, NRI must be contacted to issue a certificate of training (provided to us by Dft) to the driver. This certificate can then be used as evidence to prove to third parties that the required training has been completed. The legislation stipulates that training can only be delivered by members of the DVSA endorsed NRI, or by members of the NVDIR.

Learn more about Training for Drivers of Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles.

Get started with LGV Instructor and Assessor qualifications today

With ongoing restrictions around social contact and essential travel, many LGV training providers are either temporarily closed or offering a reduced service.  Similarly, many in-house training teams are conducting reduced levels of training and assessment, often focusing only on what is completely mission critical.

Because of this, you might think that it is not a good time to undertake training or develop your career as an LGV Instructor or LGV Assessor. At the National Register of LGV Instructors, we disagree!

Whether you are working at home or on site, now is an ideal time to start your journey towards your NRI LGV Instructor or NRI LGV Assessor qualifications.

What are the NRI qualifications?

The National Register of LGV Instructors aims to improve LGV driving standards by  ensuring that Instructors and Assessors across the industry possess the same high level of skill and knowledge.

To do this, LGV Instructors and LGV Assessors can take an NRI examination to confirm their proficiency. On passing the exam, individuals receive an independent, professional qualification recognised throughout the industry, and can join the Register, proving to employers and peers that they meet the required standards and giving them the recognition they deserve.

Take NRI qualifications online now

You might be busier than ever, or you may have more time than usual to dedicate to your own training and professional development.  Either way, if you are keen to prove that you’re among the best LGV Instructors or Assessors in the country, you can get started now – even during lockdown.

The LGV knowledge test for both qualifications can be taken online now, 24 hours a day. You can then book a priority slot for the next parts of the assessment – in-cab assessments of your own driving ability and a test of your own in-cab and classroom instructional and assessment skills. This means that when the restrictions around Covid-19 are reduced or lifted, it will take you less time to complete the examination and get fully qualified as an NRI LGV Instructor or NRI LGV Assessor.

COMING SOON – NRI Driver CPC Instructor Qualification

To help ensure that high standards of training extend right across our industry, in May 2020 we launch a new qualification to recognise Driver CPC Instructors.

We don’t believe that lockdown should get in the way of your professional development and training, so the exam for the new qualification has been designed so that it can be taken completely remotely.

The examination for the NRI Driver CPC Instructor qualification, which is open to both LGV and PCV specialists, will include a test of driving and training knowledge alongside an assessment of your skills in Driver CPC course delivery. It will take place in a ‘virtual classroom’, entirely remotely, but upholding our usual high standards and ensuring relevant criteria are met.

Contact us now to confirm your interest in this new Driver CPC qualification and we will make sure you are among the first to receive all the examination and booking details when it launches.

Join the National Register of LGV Instructors

For more information on our qualifications and how to join the NRI, check our information for LGV Instructors and LGV Assessors. Or, please contact our team who will be happy to help.

Important Information: NRI Coronavirus Update

In light of the evolving coronavirus situation and following the most recent Government guidelines, the National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) has decided to suspend all Instructor and Assessor examinations until Government advice dictates otherwise. We fully understand and appreciate that this will affect both individuals and examination centres, however, the priority is to protect the candidates, examination centre staff and examiners. There will be a regular review of the situation, and should guidance from the Government change, removing the need for social distancing, then we will of course, resume examinations.

In the meantime, we could find ourselves in a situation where many instructors on the register reach their renewal date. As we are unable to ascertain how long social distancing will be in place, the NRI has taken the following steps with immediate effect:

Registered Instructors:

  • During this period of social distancing you will be allowed to remain on the NRI even in the event of registration expiry
  • Once it has been deemed safe to socially interact, the NRI will contact you. We will then allow three months from the date of notification for you to apply and successfully complete your NRI examination

Examination Centres:

  • If your Examination Centre is due for renewal during the social distancing period, you will be contacted by the NRI and your annual audit will be completed remotely. Details on how we conduct the audit in this way will be communicated to you beforehand.

New LGV Assessor Qualification from NRI

The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) has launched the first nationally recognised LGV Assessor qualification, acknowledging skill and providing new professional development opportunities.

The new qualification, which has been rolled out since May 2019, enables successful candidates to join the NRI’s LGV Assessor Register for 5 years. On qualifying, they are issued with an LGV Assessor ID card and added to the online register at the NRI website.

So far, more than 20 people have joined the NRI LGV Assessor register, and the NRI is seeing a continually high level of enquiries regarding the new Assessor examination. Carlisle-based SP Training trained one of the first assessors to be examined and qualify for their NRI Assessor card – Dave Stones of Yodel.

“It’s important that there is consistency across assessment and marking and providing standardisation that is transferrable across the industry will improve efficiency,” says Tony Higgins, Managing Director for SP Training. “One of SP Training’s key objectives is to help companies meet consistent safety standards so we welcome the Assessor qualification and the benefits it will bring to both individual operators and the industry as a whole.”

An LGV Assessor is typically responsible for conducting LGV driver assessments and monitoring driver performance. Assessments can be conducted for numerous reasons, such as following an incident, an extended period of leave or evaluating driver skills prior to offering employment. Assessors cannot conduct driver training or examinations and are often former, or current, LGV drivers on route to becoming an LGV Instructor.

“Before now, there was no formal recognition for the important role of LGV Assessor,” says Dave Cox, NRI Manager. “Although this is something brand new to the industry, it has already received a warm welcome as businesses want to ensure that those responsible for assessing LGV drivers are independently and professionally qualified.”

On joining the register, Assessors have access to free technical advice, exclusive professional development opportunities and discounts on selected products and services from NRI partner organisations. The qualification also enables Assessors to prove to employers that they have been independently examined, achieved the required levels of skill and knowledge and are committed to upholding high quality LGV driver assessment standards.

The addition of the new register means that two types of NRI membership are currently available – Assessor and Instructor, with a third category expected to be launched later in 2019. The DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency), which endorses the NRI and has helped guide its development since launching in 2017, has welcomed the expansion of the examination process and register.

“DVSA shares the NRI’s mission to promote higher standards of LGV instruction, assessment and mentoring,” says Mark Winn, DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner.

“DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. By providing the haulage industry with a workforce of independently examined and registered driver instructors, NRI will help increase the competence of professional lorry drivers,” he continues. “The higher the standard of LGV instruction, assessment and mentoring, the better drivers will be and the safer our roads will be.”

The NRI Instructor register currently has 560 members and remains the only DVSA endorsed registered led by the industry, for the industry.

The NRI is operated by RTITB, the leading standards setting body for workplace transport training, on a not-for-profit basis and is supported by the FTA (Freight Transport Association) and RHA (Road Haulage Association). It is regularly audited by a governance committee to reassure members of quality, standards and neutrality. The committee includes representatives of both large and small logistics, transport and training organisations alongside trade associations.

To apply to take the new Assessor qualification, or to find out more about joining the NRI Instructor register, call Dave Cox on 01952 520210 or email LGVinstructorregister@rtitb.co.uk .

Employers can find details of NRI registered Instructors and Assessors, and more information, by visiting www.lgvinstructorregister.com .