One of the truck manufacturers which has been thinking about training new drivers is Volvo. The company has been developing its training system over the years and has declared its intention to work towards some kind of certification for drivers to enable for them to demonstrate their professional ability. Although still in its early stages, Volvo have declared their intention to take on the issue of driver availability and professionalism.
“It has moved a little bit,” said Paul Illmer, Volvo Director Vehicle Sales Strategy and Support. “It used to be all about the handover. It was to make sure the driver was aware of the basic functions of the truck and to make sure, when they get the keys and go on the first trip, they know how to operate the truck in the correct manner.
“Then it moved to much more focus on safety, making sure the driver is driving in a safe manner, anticipating traffic and was also fuel efficient. From there it moved to making sure they were fuel efficient, safe, but also courteous.
“We do a lot now with the drivers about being ambassadors for their company. It’s an interesting term, but it’s to make sure they are aware their role as a driver is to be courteous to car drivers, bicycle riders. They need to make sure when they interact with their customer’s customers, they portray the best image they can for their customer, but also for the driving population of Australia.”
Volvo is still formulating its way forward, but does have the intention of driving some kind of national qualification, a passport drivers can take with them to assure potential employers they are responsible and able to drive in the correct manner.
“A development from what we have got would be an academy,” says Illmer. “It would be formalising what we get. What we do today is training drivers who are already employed in a customers business, but what we are trying to get to with a driver academy is to take somebody who has got the license then put them through the programs.
“Today, we are able to put a driver in with a customer who has been through the fuel efficiency course, through the ambassador type course and is safe, keeping the truck safe. From day one when they start with the customer they already have these tools in their back pocket.
“What we are looking at doing later this year is bringing the top driver trainers in major fleets, sitting them down with our driver trainers. Then bring in someone from NTI, someone from the ATA and not make it a Volvo Group initiative, but actually sit down and talk about what we are offering in terms of course material. We can then look at what is developing as the course requirements in the market. We can then ensure we are dynamic enough to work with what the expectations are in the market. I think that’s very important.”