If you are considering training as an HGV(LGV) driver, this guide is for you. If you have spent any time looking at the various options available to you, you will no doubt have noticed that there are many companies that offer HGV training courses. But which one is right for you? Do they all offer the same level of service? It can be a minefield, and leave you with more questions that answers.
What is a training broker?
A training broker is a company that operates as a ‘middleman’ service: handling the administration of your training but not actually directly providing any of the actual training itself. Broker companies have contracts in place with independent training schools to whom they send their customers to be trained. Brokers by definition do not own training vehicles or have physical training facilities. They don’t even book driving tests, this is all handled by the 3rd party company they work with.
In a nutshell, a broker’s services are limited to handling the payment for the course and arranging a medical and theory training. As the actual training is being outsourced to another company, you will in most cases pay more than if you were to just book direct with your local training school. You also will have no choice over which company provides your training. You’ll have no information about the training school until you have already paid. At this point, you will be under contract and unable to claim a full refund if you’re unhappy with the company that has been selected to provide your training.
Why would anyone use a training broker?
If all the services a broker provides can be booked directly (and usually cheaper) why would anyone choose to book their training this way? Why would someone pay a company money to arrange something that they could easily do themselves? The simple answer is: the vast majority of broker customers do not know they are booking with a broker!
Due to poor regulation of the driver training industry, brokers are able to advertise as if they are direct training providers. They use computer software to edit photographs of trucks and add their company logo, which gives the impression that they own their own vehicles. They will use carefully chosen wording on their website which makes it appear that they are an actual training school, and you will never see clear information that your training will be passed to another company.
Brokers are also well-known in the industry for making claims that they will help you find work, or that they have a database of unique job vacancies. Training Mentor has spoken with many trainees who booked their training through brokers and all confirmed that once they had completed their training, very little (or nothing) was done to help them find work.
How to tell if a company is a broker
1. Search engines
Brokers tend to appear at the top of Google searches, in the ‘paid adverts’ section. Occasionally you will see genuine direct training providers appear in this area, but this is rarer. The reason that brokers are able to appear at the top of Google consistently is their advertising budgets are so much bigger than that of a training school. Training schools have to pay for vehicles (and space to keep them), insurance, fuel, driving instructor wages, off-road training areas, the list goes on. This leaves very little money for advertising, and with Google (and other search engines) being a very expensive way to advertise, it is difficult to compete this way.