Many businesses question whether to outsource the training of LGV drivers and material handling equipment (MHE) operators, or have instructors in-house. Laura Nelson of RTITB explains some of the benefits of in-house instructors.
Repeatedly, we have seen in-house instructors boost the safety and efficiency of an operation, and provide a good return on investment. However, some employers remain unconvinced that training in-house instructors will add the benefit needed to cover the cost of training them.
So, what are the benefits?
1. Reduce the risk of accidents and associated costs
Quality transport and MHE training from a correctly trained instructor (supervised and supported by accreditation) helps to, among other things, increase the safety of drivers, operators, and pedestrians, while reducing damage to vehicles, equipment, stock, and warehouse racking.
This should be the case for both in-house and outsourced training. However, in-house training may go a step further, focussing on some specific hazards or operational processes that are unique to the particular site or business.
2. Retaining staff
High staff turnover can be difficult for any business to manage, particularly in the logistics sector. Investment in ongoing training, even among experienced drivers or operators, helps employees to feel more valued and increases their loyalty to a business, reducing staff turnover, and the associated costs.
With an in-house instructor, the trainer and trainees often know each other. Instructors may deliver training to the same employees, time and again, creating better rapport and increasing engagement with training. In addition, instructors will often be seen as mentors to newly qualified drivers, helping them through their initial career.
3. Identifying staff for career progression
In-house instructors are also well placed to identify future development opportunities for good candidates who show ambition. This helps to reduce external recruitment costs and supports business succession planning.
Companies should also consider training existing staff to become instructors, providing professional development that keeps them on their career path, and within the business. This will also help businesses to take control of the shortage of skills within the logistics and transport sector.
4. Instil company ethics and improve the culture
Alongside all the elements required for compliance and safe operation, an in-house instructor can use the training process to instil the company's ethics and standards as part of an operator or driver's development.
5. Minimised disruption
Fitting training into day-to-day operations without impacting efficiency can be challenging. Where training is outsourced, trainees may have to wait for availability or need to travel off-site, incurring additional costs as well as impacting efficiency.
By using in-house instructors, training can be more easily integrated into daily operations, fitting around business needs with minimal disruption. Bringing training in-house can also offer flexibility, allowing courses to be more easily rescheduled, and reducing any cancellation costs.
6. Maintaining standards
In-house instructors' knowledge makes them some of the best people to monitor operators and drivers in real life situations, thereby helping to raise driving or operating standards. Qualified instructors who are present to intervene in the case of bad practice help to reduce risk, and the possibility of incidents in the workplace. They can also identify where new or refresher training is needed to uphold standards.
Organisations are required to deliver 'adequate' training to meet the requirements of PUWER, as well as to ensure competence within their team. In the case of materials handling equipment, three stages of training are needed – Basic, Specific Job and Familiarisation training. As the latter two stages must be done 'on the job', it is difficult to deliver these with outsourced training. However, having in-house instructors enables a business to easily combine to Basic and Specific Job training and ensures that the skills exist within the business to also correctly deliver familiarisation training.
The dedicated RTITB Instructor Academy provides LGV instructor, forklift, pallet truck and overhead crane instructor training courses to develop qualified, professional in-house instructors that fit specific business needs.
Training courses can be adapted to incorporate the standards and culture of the employers' business, alongside the high standards held by RTITB. This assists businesses with both effective training delivery and legal compliance.