Two Fowler Welch driver trainers, Paul Hughes and William Robertson, have completed a fortnight’s placement at Transaid’s Professional Driver Training project at the National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. A core part of Transaid’s road safety work, the project aims to harmonise driver training best practice and expertise across several African countries, to help improve standards and systems.
During the secondment, instructors Hughes and Robertson trained six NIT driver trainers, focusing on teaching practical driving techniques, safe trailer coupling, and thorough vehicle checks on two HGV’s – an IVECO Stralis and an IVECO Trakker.
The NIT trainers were split into two groups, each getting a chance to experience both driving the vehicles and acting as the instructor. This involved identifying potential obstacles, advising the driver how they should position their vehicle on the road and when to carry out mirror observations.
Hughes also delivered theory training in the classroom, covering topics including safe stopping distances, journey planning, basic first aid and fuel-efficient driving. Hughes says: “The main goal was to improve their driving skills and instructional abilities. We did a lot of work encouraging the trainers to look further ahead to identify potential obstructions, and then briefing the driver to react accordingly.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced was the general standard of driving from other road users. Teaching people in those conditions is tough, so you really have to admire what the NIT is doing. I take my hat off to their instructors; they are doing a marvellous job.”
Fowler Welch Driver of the Year in 2018 and runner up in 2019, Robertson, commented: “It was an experience I’ll remember for a lifetime. Knowing our training will help develop and make drivers more knowledgeable and safer on the roads was the biggest takeaway for me. Plus, everyone welcomed us and made us feel at home.”
Following the success of the Zambia Professional Driver Training initiative, Transaid expanded its driver training focus to Tanzania in June 2010, partnering with the NIT. Its work is focused on building the NIT’s commercial driver training capacity, combined with the quality of training delivered.
Transaid’s Chief Executive, Caroline Barber, says: “Our heartfelt gratitude to Paul, William and the Fowler Welch team for delivering this fantastic training input at NIT. Their combined efforts will go a long way to helping us raise both the capacity and standard of HGV driver training, which will in turn reduce fatalities on Africa’s roads. You can’t put a value on this training; it’s going to save lives.”