Training the trainer

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Not all Park’s coaches carry black and gold house colours; some are liveried for inter-city operations with either Park’s or Citylink branding. RICHARD WALTER

Jonathan Welch speaks to Park’s of Hamilton about its programme of bringing training in house with specially-trained staff

There are three letters which are almost guaranteed to make drivers and operators grimace. Mention ‘CPC’ and people will draw breath through their teeth, groan and recount training courses which were as dull as dishwater, delivered with all the enthusiasm of a damp dishcloth and were maybe even barely relevant. But they ticked a box.

Training is a vital part of any industry, but is something that is often overlooked or pushed down the agenda in favour of more pressing needs like putting a bus on service when drivers are scarce, or fulfilling a school contract. And when it does come to training – which for the majority of those in the industry means annual driver CPC training – the courses are often seen as being somewhat generic or lacking in anything to which drivers can really relate.

Regardless of whether it’s CPC training, initial driver training, or ongoing professional training for office-based staff, one thing is key. Regular readers will have read Alan Payling’s piece in our Christmas issue, in which he recalled his time as a trainee driver with London Transport, as it was then. He recalled with clarity and admiration his driving instructor Harry Baggelley, many years later. Harry made an impression, said Alan, and set him up for a lifetime’s work. Making training not just informative but memorable is a skill in itself, and one which is vital. There’s little point in spending time in a classroom if trainees are going to walk away and forget everything. A course needs to be engaging as well, in order for participants to buy into it, and it will help to ensure that they remember it.

So how can that be done? As Park’s of Hamilton found out when it was looking to improve the CPC training it offered to its drivers and introduce it’s own driver training programme, the first step is to train the trainer. An information-packed course is nothing if it isn’t well presented, both in terms of the person presenting and the presentation of the content.

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