Leading transport operator CM Downton has introduced a dedicated driver training vehicle to help recruit new drivers and enhance the skills of existing staff more quickly and easily. A DAF vehicle has been converted to accommodate an additional passenger so that an observer can accompany the trainee driver and instructor in the cab. The vehicle will initially be located at Downton’s new 282,000ft2 (26,200m2) warehouse in Chepstow – announced in October – where the company is currently recruiting up to 100 new drivers to build a team of around 250 at the site.
In addition to training new recruits the vehicle will be used to upgrade existing drivers from HGV Class C (formerly Class 2) to Class C+E (formerly Class 1) licences. Downton employs around 800 drivers, some of whom are unable to drive the company’s largest vehicles because they only have the Class C qualification. Training more drivers to the higher level will provide the company with greater operational flexibility across different contracts and vehicle types. The company’s driver trainer, Andy Heaven, has been completing the qualifications needed to provide the transitional training to other employees.
Andy Downton, Managing Director at CM Downton, said: “Having our own vehicle will significantly increase our ability to recruit and train new drivers quickly and to our own high standards without relying on external service providers. We also recognise that helping members of our existing team to achieve the higher license is good for their careers and gives us greater flexibility.”