Technical writer Paul Aldridge heads to the Accredited Heavy Vehicle Training (AHVT) in Sydney to sit his HR unrestricted licence and to see how good his driving skills actually are
Going to the next level with Accredited Heavy Vehicle Training
For the past 17 years I have been a bus driver. I can still remember doing the two- day course for my Medium Rigid (MR) driver’s licence. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how dif cult the transition to acquire my Heavy Rigid (HR) Unrestricted licence is.
It’s funny – once you are an experienced driver, you don’t even think about driving a large vehicle. I often think it is easier to park my bus than it is to park a car.
I can reverse the bus anywhere with ease and know exactly where I can and can’t take it, so I would consider myself a condent bus driver.
I am off to Accredited Heavy Vehicle Training (AHVT) at Moorebank in Sydney to hopefully obtain my new licence and see how good my driving skills really are!
Before I commenced my training, I spoke with AHVT manager Steve Grima, driver trainer Jon Attard, and driver trainer and assessor Tony Stephens about the company’s process to get students on the road driving heavy vehicles.
“One of the rst things we need to correctly establish is what type of licence is needed for the driver,” Grima says.
“Most people call up and say they want to get their truck licence but they don’t have the understanding of the different licence levels available and the process.
“We nd a lot of people just want to go straight to the top to the HR Roadranger licence – a lot of people don’t realise what’s involved with driving an 18-speed Roadranger vehicle, so we make sure this is the right licence for the student.
“I always establish what licence they need to work in their chosen industry.
“Do you want to drive a garbage truck, a courier truck, or work in demolition and excavation?
“This initial interview groundwork is very import to ensure the right licence is given to speci cally suit the students’ needs.”
EXCELLENCE OF TRAINERS
Grima says what sets AHVT apart from others is the quality and care of its driver trainers.
“Our RMS-approved trainers have a wealth of experience in the industry, and
although Accredited Heavy Vehicle Training has only been operating for several years, it is the years of experience and knowledge in the industry of our trainers and staff that make our company successful and give our students a very high success rate,” he says.
“We place ourselves in the industry where we are today for both the high quality of our trainers and our vehicles.
“I had a customer the other day give me feedback, saying he had done several driving courses over his career but was most impressed with the patience and calmness of our instructors.
“He said he had never experienced such a high quality of instructions. What impressed him most was the time and care taken to explain things to students.
“He said we are by far the best driver instruction course he had ever experienced and that he learnt more from his course with us in a short period of time than combining all he has been taught previously.”
THE TEST PROCESS
All students are required to complete their RMS knowledge test and know the road rules for their chosen licence before commencing training.
“It’s our job to assess their varying levels of skills and experience to eliminate any bad habits a student may have and to make sure they apply the correct procedures at all times to their driving,” Stephens says.
“We often nd new drivers just follow what other drivers are doing – monkey see monkey do – but it is my job to adjust their mindset, it’s like breaking a horse to apply safe driving procedures and follow all of the basic road rules at all times.
“The hardest part is getting a student’s head out of the car and into the truck to constantly remember they are driving a vehicle that can be up to 20 tonnes.
“Gear changes and breaking have to be thought of much earlier. It’s the thinking behind the processes that we teach our students.”
The company also has a mechanical workshop attached to ensure its vehicles are in top condition for drivers.
“Our trucks have immediate access to what they need on the spot,” Grima says. “We also have back-up vehicles available so a student is never inconvenienced by unforeseeable mechanical problems. We have our own mobile electrician and tyre person too.
“This back-up system keeps the wheels turning, so to speak, and avoids any customer inconvenience or disappointment. Students have taken time off work or driven fair distances to do the training, so it’s important we deliver what we say we will.”
The staff continue to retell customer experiences and I can see that the AHVT exible approach and patience with the students certainly makes a difference.
They both continually mention the word ‘patience’, and both agree it is that element that makes their company a success.
Find out how Paul fares with his licence application in the August edition of ABC.
We place ourselves in the industry for both the high quality of our trainers and our vehicles
Above: The AHVT truck for HR Unrestricted training
Below: 3-axle truck cockpit
page: Day one before training commences