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Choosing The Best LGV/PCV Training

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If you've decided to learn to drive HGV's or a PCV, your next step is to find the best training school. This isn't as easy or as straight forward as you might think. This article is designed to help you get the best LGV or PCV training in your area, throughout the UK.

The Truth About LGV/PCV Training

There are lots of training schools offering courses to prepare you for the DVSA tests. These courses usually range from 3 to 5 days and can depend on the individual's capabilities, lesson structure and vehicle type. However, there are a few truths about the industry that you should know before deciding on the best HGV or PCV training school for you.

The Industry Isn't Regulated

Unlike when you were learning to drive a car, then, by law your instructor had to be registered and qualified with the DVSA, or DSA as it used to be called. In the commercial world of LGV/PCV tuition, your instructor only has to have held a LGV/PCV licence for at least 3 years. That's it, no qualification to teach, no understanding the best methods of instructing and even no knowledge of the UK driving test!

Most LGV Driving Instructors Are Not Instructors

Unbelievable, isn't it? Most people who teach new licence acquisition for large vehicles are nothing more than drivers. With no industry regulations there's no need to gain any qualification to teach or learn how to teach.

Driver Training Cones

Don't Always Go Cheapest

Ok, this is the same for many things, but in this industry it's more true than ever. You have to ask yourself: why is it cheaper? It may be that the vehicles are old, staff under-trained or you're missing out on something.

Tips To Get The Best Training

To ensure that you really get the best training for your money, follow these simple rules: don't be afraid to ask questions and always take your time to think about your decision.

Instructor's Qualifications

I've put this first because I feel it's the most important. Always make sure that your instructor is qualified to do what you're paying him/her to do. Ask what qualifications your instructor has before you decide to book your training; and always state that you would like to see proof of their training/qualifications before you pay any money. The only qualifications I would accept are an RTITB Instructor Certificate or a DSA Instructor's Badge. Don't be fobbed off with in-house training as, in my experience, it's not worth anything.

If the company can't show you sufficient evidence to prove that their trainers are properly trained, then how can they prove that they're worth your money. You should also make sure you study their certificate for validity dates, the RTITB will usually only last 5 years and the DSA badge 4 years before they need a refresher course or a retest.

Don't accept experience as proof of worth, if someone was doing something wrong 20 years ago and nobody has ever corrected them, they'll still be doing it wrong today. The difference between a qualified instructor and a driver teaching people to drive is the difference between passing first time or not. That difference could cost you an additional £500 per re-test. Qualified instructors know how to aid learning; drivers often only know how to drive.

Bus At Test Centre

Recommendations And Reviews

Recommendations and reviews are a great indication that someone is doing their job well, though the truth is often hidden. If you read reviews online about a training company in general being good, you have to ask yourself if the company, as a whole, is good. It's easy to forget that a company has many instructors and not all of them may have the same skills or knowledge. If you've heard positive reviews about a particular instructor, it's worth negotiating a booking which ensures you'll only be trained by them.

Best Training Company Pass-Rates

Pass rates should never be trusted, again only from experience, they're a combination of guesstimating and marketing. Which means they'll mostly be of the high end, take a moment to research the pass-rate for the entire country and you'll find that it's under 50%.

Best HGV Training Vehicles

Many HGV training schools use old vehicles for their training and these companies may even believe that this is best. While often there's nothing wrong with learning to drive in an older vehicle, these vehicles do break down frequently and quite often on the day of your test.

Since January 2014 the law changed with regard to the type of gearbox learners of LGVs may present for test. It is now possible to take an LGV/PSV test in an automatic transmission vehicle; and providing you passed your car test in a manual, you'll receive the same entitlement for the additional categories. This change means that there is now less to learn before your test and often a day's training can be shaved off your course if you're learning in a new automatic. You'll also be pleased to know that most companies operate entire fleets of automatic transmission vehicles, so there's really no excuses for learning in old, manual split-shift vehicle.

Reverse Training

HGV Assessments

Most training companies offer driver assessments to calculate how many training days you'll require before your test. Some companies offer this service for free and some charge for it. If the company charges you for the assessment, make sure you ask how long the assessment is and always make sure you get the assigned time, after all you've paid for the experience, even if the assessor has decided on a sufficient course duration before your time has elapsed.

Classroom Or Vehicle

It makes sense that you'll want to spend as much time driving an LGV or PCV vehicle as possible before taking your test. So, if you book three days training in that vehicle, you want to ensure that you'll get that whole duration. It has been known that some training schools charge you for in-vehicle training and then restrict your time by spending part of this time in a classroom. Ensure this isn't the case before booking.

Finding The Best HGV/PCV Training

With all that said, there are still lots of very good training schools in the UK and some excellent instructors. Now armed with this inside information you should be able to identify the good from the bad. Training to become a professional driver is very expensive and this training should never be an impulse purchase. Do your homework and research each company thoroughly.

Good luck!