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 condent 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.”


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.”


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

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