South African businesses stand to benefit in many ways by undertaking employee training.

Yet, with the many options available, the difficulty may be in choosing an appropriate driving course and qualified service provider. Businesses that depend on fleets for their daily operations should give serious consideration to accredited driver training programmes.

The pros

Drivers gain experience to handle a range of driving situations. The best providers include assistance with rollover prevention and driver awareness. They also promote defensive driving as a safety technique.

Choose a school which provides both trucks and cars during instruction so you do not lose valuable time using your own vehicles for training.

Driver training can save your business money by teaching employees to drive economically. It can also help you reduce accidents by up to 50%, saving your business millions.

Crashes like the Fields Hill accident in Pinetown and the accident on the N12 in Alberton, has created more demand for businesses to ensure truck drivers drive responsibly and have expertise to avoid collisions.

By upskilling or improving employee skills, your business will be more successful at retaining talent, reducing expenses of high employee turnover and build loyal and trustworthy fleets.

Accredited driver training organisations have professional, experienced and certified instructors. These trainers should regularly redo their own advanced driving tests. The best driver training providers are involved in train the trainer initiatives with international partners.

With changing BEE codes there are increasing incentives for companies to choose accredited organisations in order to benefit from strategic incentives. Under the new codes, organisations are obliged to increase spend on skills development, which can only be recouped if the organisation and training are accredited.

The Cons

A time commitment is required. You need to weigh up the cost of taking drivers out the field for a day against the potential cost benefits.

Driver training will have a limited benefit if you are merely using it to earn a tax rebate. Your commitment to responsible and educated drivers needs to filter throughout the organisation. You must take your own measures to ensure responsible driving is continually practised.

Driver training will require an initial financial investment; however, accredited organisations have a 10 to one return on investment on average.

Driver trainers do not need to belong to an association nor receive a specific qualification to provide training. As a result you need to carefully select a training organisation which has taken its own steps to ensure they provide you with professional and experienced training. Some providers have ISO9000 accreditation, for example, which assures customers of quality service.