PDP – open for business

Brian Worrall,DODF chair with Marisa Ferguson,SQA, at the signing of the agreement
The scheme opened for driver applications on 1st January 2014 and Brian is encouraging businesses to apply as soon as possible: “It’s a bit like the Driver CPC in that sense –there’s not as much time to do it as you may think.”
Although the PDP is not currently a legal requirement, unlike the ADR scheme, terminals will have the right to mandate it from 1st January 2015. “Terminals across the UK have fully committed to the scheme and are in the process of advising customers that they will be mandating it from the start of next year, giving them 12 months to get sorted. Any UK based drivers failing to get a PDP by this date will not be admitted to the terminal,” explained Brian.
Companies have been able to register as a training centre since September 2013. With around 30 signed up by the end of 2013, Brian urged smaller distributors to do the same, pointing out that distributors are able to register to undertake classroom and/or the practical training for themselves: “This could be a real opportunity for smaller distributors to save money as it is relatively low cost doing it this way, especially for the practical part of PDP – it makes perfect sense. Put another way most petroleum carriers are training their drivers anyway and the PDP provides a nationally recognised standard to which the employer can align their training. Also this will now make it easier to register the existing training as a DCPC module.”
Making it easier
Aware that the PDP is an additional training requirement, Brian was keen to stress that for most operators, already working to high standards, it will not require a lot of extra work. “By aligning the scheme to the existing ADR and existing operational training it will be possible for drivers to take one of two easy routes. They can either request the additional PDP module when their ADR is up for renewal or take a shorter, interim version covering the key points, which will last until their ADR expires.”
Additionally by using the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to manage the scheme, administration is streamlined. Not only will the driver number be the same for both schemes, but the photo can also be re-used.
In order to gain accreditation drivers must complete both a classroom and a practical element. The classroom assessment element can be done on paper or online, which is quicker, and can be delivered in house or by a third party. For the practical side, drivers will need access to a terminal and will be assessed by an SQA accredited and registered individual. “Even in smaller companies, a more experienced driver could take on the role of an assessor,” said Brian. “Although industry experience is required, formal training is not.”
The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) is also working on providing training modules for its members to use.
The benefits
“Distributors will certainly see the benefits of the scheme and in time it will become part of the way they operate,” said Brian.
“Designed by the industry for the industry, the scheme will deliver a consistently high level of training to all drivers in the industry, verified by an accredited third party. The scheme is also open to evolving over time. We are in complete control of the syllabus, which is online alongside the necessary documentation and fee structure.”
Brian also believes that the scheme will deliver reputational benefits for both drivers and companies. “Very much like Gas Safe and OFTEC – we hope that drivers will see it as a badge of honour and professionalism. The intention is to market and promote it more in this way over time.
“As well as being relatively low cost, as the scheme grows it should really enhance the Driver CPC too – combining content and improving delivery of the scheme.
“So far, uptake of the PDP has been good with all the major hauliers and distributors signing up.”