You may be thinking about being a wagon driver: a life on the open road, seeing places and meeting people you never even thought of. I for one, have made many (well a few) lifelong friends from my time on the road.
Anyway, whatever, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I want to talk to you about the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). This is a qualification that all professional wagon, bus and coach drivers must possess.
There have been many benefits to this training, such as a reduction in fuel bills and lower insurance for operators. Truth be told, it does help the new kids on the block understand just what is expected of them. Thinking back to when I first started on the road, I did not have a clue. I remember leaving my first CPC course and really appreciating the trainer’s time and expertise. I finally knew what I was doing right and ultimately; what I was doing wrong.
How do you get your DCPC?
This is a simple question to answer. If you are a new driver, you will have to undergo a couple of tests (Module 2, also known as the ‘case study questions’, and Module 4, which is also known as the ‘show me tell me’ exercise).
We’ll look into these in a bit more detail further in the article, but for now, just know that you will have to undergo further periodic training every 5 years to keep your DCPC up to date.
Fear not though, once you have sat your initial CPC (as described above) you will only have to attend 35 hours of classroom based, attendance training: there are no exams to pass, you simply have to attend.
Now, it’s up to you to choose how you do this. You can either wait until your qualification is due for renewal, or you can do a 7 hour course every year. This is a much preferred option. With all NED’s candidates we offer them the chance to undertake a CPC course, free of charge when they pass their CAT C training with us. So not only do they get their first 5 years with us, they also get their first 7 hour stint towards their second lot of DCPC training. We’ve found that this helps newly qualified drivers out tremendously and makes them a little more employable – a lot of companies out there will pay for DCPC courses, and they love saving a buck or two!
With NED’s, you will find the DCPC exams a doddle. They will help you from start to finish and sit with you if you need extra help to get you through.
I did not have a clue what I was doing, even when passing the CPC exams. However the guy’s are on hand to answer any questions you have. They even offer a free 7 hour course to help you remember your stuff.
You have about an hour and a half to complete about 40-50 questions. You have plenty of time. Read over the question twice before answering. You can even flag the questions you are not sure of, which lets you go back and check them when you’re done.
The Module 2 Exam
The Case Studies exam. Any of you who are working towards your Driver CPC will need to pass the Module 2 exam.
You’ll be expected to answer a hand full of questions based around 6-8 scenario’s which wagon drivers are likely to come across on a daily basis. It’s aim is to check your knowledge and understanding as well as to test how you will put it into practice.
In summary, you will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to answer roughly 50 questions based on the scenario’s you will be given.
The Module 4 Exam
The CPC practical demonstration test, or more informally known as the ‘Show me, tell me’ exam. This exam is an extremely beneficial exam. It assesses your knowledge and abilities when dealing with the safety of your vehicle.
In this 30 minute exam, you will answer 5 questions based on safe use of your vehicle, security of your vehicle, assessing emergency situations, and preventing criminal acts and reducing physical risk.
In short, you will walk around the wagon and explain to the exam that you are capable of completing a daily safety check of the vehicle, imaging that you are taking a never before seen vehicle out on the road for the first time.
Check out the video below which will give you some idea of what to expect on the day of your Module 4 exam.
As you watch, see how many items you would automatically check for yourself on a daily basis.
Remember, some examples of what you will be checking will include the following:
Tyres – ensuring that there are no bulges, rips or wires showing and that there is at least 1mm of tread over ¾ of the tyre circumference.
Windows – Checking for any damage or cracks that will impair your vision whilst out on the road, and making sure the surrounding areas are free of any clutter.
Mirrors – You will need to check that the mirrors are not cracked, free of any dirt and secured.
Tail Lift – We always need to double check that our tail lift is stowed away correctly before driving away.
Load Security – Always, Always, Always check that the load is secure. Use this time to make sure you are not transporting anything you shouldn’t be.
Of course during your lessons we will go through this is greater detail, but to put this simply, this is a very easy task with an exceptionally high pass rate. It usually takes our candidates no longer than 10 minutes to demonstrate their capabilities during their Module 4 test.
Driver Qualification Card
Upon completion of your Module 2 and Module 4, you will be presented with a Driver Qualification Card (DQC). Not another abbreviation! This is valid for 5 years and will need to travel with you every time you are driving the wagon.
It is illegal for operators to allow a driver to drive with a valid DQC. Make no mistake about it, YOU are breaking the law if you drive without a valid DQC: you can be fined up to £1000 should this be the case.
When you get your licence, it’s a good idea to carry your cards – of which you will have 3 – with you at all times:
*Your DQC will be sent out to the address which is on your driving licence, so it is important that you inform the DVLA if you change your address.
As hinted above, the renewal of your DCPC needs to be completed within a 5 year period. This can be taken either in a singe block, split into more manageable periods of 7 hours at a time. This is definitely the recommended way to do it!
That why you wont be bored, sitting in a classroom all week, and more practically; you will be updating your knowledge on a more regular basis.
Again, as I’m sure you are aware, with NED’s you’ll be offered a free DCPC course to attend when you qualify for the first time.