In this instalment of our Meet the Members feature, we chat with Steve Shaw, owner of Shaw’s Driver Training in Telford. Steve has been a premium member of TrainingMentor.co.uk for a little over 6 months now, and here you can read all about the man behind the company.
TM: How long you have been running Shaw’s Driver Training and do you have any interesting stories about your company’s history?
Steve: I started my HGV haulage career back in 1993 and still consider every day as a school day, always open to any new or better techniques whilst out driving or teaching. This ethos I like to pass on to my clients whilst they are training. I started my Advanced Driver/Rider Training 8 years ago when i joined our local ROSPA Advanced rider group, SAPPAR. I qualified as a Tutor with a Gold grading that is reassessed every 3 years. I loved the whole process of training people and moved on to LGV and PCV training 4 years ago whilst working as a OCR Qualified Transport Manager. I then started on the MOD contract Driver Training nationwide, and discovered I was a natural. I gained great experience on the MOD contract and my pass success rate was second to none across the Mainstream Training Group.
I had a period of working local last year at one of our local Driver Training Companies, for 2 months and gained invaluable local testing area routes and knowledge.This however came to an abrupt end due to lack of work available and i went back onto the Nationwide MOD contract. When RTITB took over the hosting of the National Register of LGV Instructors last year, I was the FIRST Instructor that they had enrolled to do the NRI Qualification without any of their Training on the Direct Entry route. I was working in Blandford on the MOD contract at the time and drove back up to my home town of Telford to take the exams the next day. After successfully completing the exams over that day I simply drove back down to Blandford to carry on the Training week. With a huge smile on my face lol. I started this limited company shortly afterwards in May last year. When a MAN Wagon and Drag combination came up for sale locally. I bit the bullet and purchased our first training vehicle. Shaw’s Driver Training Ltd was then up and running.
TM: That’s really interesting. Can you tell us the best thing about your business or your USPs?
Steve: Our USP can be several things that set us aside from our main local competition. Myself and ALL of our experienced Professional Instructors are Fully Qualified and are listed on the prestigious Trade Standard National Register of Large Vehicle Instructors. This means a quality assurance to any future customers that we are already at a very high level of expertise in our profession. Also the thing I value from being on this highly recognised register is that we are again reassessed every 5 years, which keeps our Training skill levels up to this very high standard.
Another USP to us is the way we price our courses. We prefer to give the customer the best possible price and value for money whilst giving the required level and time of training. This is based on several factors that include past and present driving experience. Also after a free driving assessment with one of our experienced Qualified Instructors we will give the customer a detailed appraisal and opinion on which length course they are best suited to. All of our course prices are listed on our website for complete transparency and guarantee that there are no hidden charges. We pride ourselves also with all of our experienced instructors that we teach students how to approach any hazard they may come across whilst driving a commercial vehicle, and give them the skills to think and assess for themselves. We like to vary the driver training routes away from test routes also, with the techniques and methods to look, assess, decide and act. This we feel is very important to help them become confident and competent for not only the test but their future driving careers. We also pride ourselves on our CAN DO ATTITUDE, that we always put our customers needs first. This has always been my philosophy in all of the businesses I have successfully run over my career. Great customer service will always be remembered and sets you aside from the competition.
TM: Can you tell our readers more about the categories of training and other services do you offer?
Steve: We offer all of the normal Vocational Driving Licence categories from C1 up to CE and including D1 and full DE. We can run refresher courses across all the licence categories for drivers coming back into the industry after a period away. To enable us to be as flexible as possible we have our own in-house DVSA Qualified Assessor of the CPC Initial Module 4 test. This gives us great flexibility to offer weekend / evening training and assessing on the CPC Initial Qualification. We also now offer Driver CPC Periodic Training Courses from two locations.
We have an Approved Training Centre in Shrewsbury and Telford. This is run through the Highly Respected RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium. With the huge library of Subject Topics available through our partner RTITB this is already proving very popular with many local Haulage and Coach companies. In-house courses at larger companies is proving to be the way forward, along with helping them to develop an annual Driver Training Programme keeping disruption to a minimum. Another service we can offer is a Train the Trainer option. Some local Haulage Companies have taken up this service already. Using our Instructor Services to help them ascertain where their own in-house Driver Trainers Instructional abilities are at. Giving expert advice and guidance to help improve the overall Driver Training Programme. Along with forging great new customer relations, we are able to offer a Driver Supply service to some of the Quality Local Companies. More and more companies are finding that Insurance companies will remove the usual 2 year minimum experience requirement for newly passed drivers – if they operate a quality Driver Development Programme. This investment in people is highly regarded in the industry and we feel this buddying up/mentoring service by established professional companies is definitely the way forward. This surely has to be taken very seriously when all companies are suffering from or are extremely nervous of the huge shortage of Professional Drivers coming into the Industry. We do pride ourselves on giving more than just the normal licence acquisition, during our time with the customer we pass on many industry methods and top tips.
TM: What’s your number one piece of driving test advice for your trainees?
Steve: Control those inevitable Test Day nerves and remember all the training we have been doing. The Examiner is only marking what they see over that hour or so. So try to relax, concentrate and stay focused on any instructions that you are given. Be polite and professional on the road at all times and give the examiner a comfortable, safe drive.