Farmer Focus: Driver training is bureaucratic nonsense

Driver certificate of professional competence (CPC) – if you don’t know what this means, count yourselves lucky.

If you do, no doubt you’ll be as appalled as I am at the whole concept. Apologies, as I told myself I would write about something a little more “farmy” than my previous column, but I envisage a lot of farms will be affected by this farcical, bureaucratic nonsense for hgv drivers.

It’s a shame, as my previous column sang the benefits of training, but when Driver CPC is classed as “training”, it goes to show why many do not believe in it for their business – it is simply about attendance.

In fact, I’d go one step further and describe it as punishment. Much like criminals serving their sentences, we are simply serving our 35 hours. It is punishment for having a job and, in my case, creating jobs, given that I will have to pay for two other lads to serve their time too, while paying their regular week’s wages and no doubt paying someone else to cover for them.

Don’t get me wrong, there was some useful and slightly relevant stuff in there like tachographs and driver’s hours, but most of it was time filling, including how many calories there are in a can of coke, because this will apparently make me a better driver.

There was nearly a whole hour on learning which foods contained what. Time spent away from my business and time away from my son, who happened to be poorly.

And to demonstrate further why this is simply attendance – I could repeat the same day’s training five times consecutively and this would still qualify me for my 35 hours. Usually after training I feel empowered – this has left me utterly depressed.

Anna Longthorp runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, a pork wholesale business supplying butchers, restaurants and farm shops with free-range pork from her family’s 2,100 breeding sows.

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