Thursday 15 August 2013

Too Stressful

As regulars will know, output here has been strained recently due to workload at Puddlecote Inc. There are occasions when I give the odd insight into the perils of running a transport business, but today provided a startlingly unusual occurrence which has truly astonished all of us in the office.

We have gained a substantial amount of work recently which - as is quite normal - requires wading through mostly EU-created regulations that almost seem deliberately invented to stifle businesses and obstruct providing employment. To cut a long story short, we need three properly licensed drivers in a hurry, so advertised in the job centre.

This morning we received a CV from someone who described himself as 'hard-working', 'reliable', and had excellent transport experience except that his truck licence expired in a few months and would become invalid as he hadn't completed his mandatory EU-ordained 35 hours of driver CPC training (training experienced drivers to suck eggs, basically)*.

During a phone call with him, he insisted he was apparently desperate for work, but with only a few quid in the bank so therefore not able to pay the £75 medical required to renew his licence, nor the £400 for the CPC training. "No problem", we said, we can not only arrange funding, but also book him in for the five days training for next week.

"Ah, but ..." says our prospective employee, "that means I'll have to pay around £100 for train fares to get to the training centre, and I can't afford it". That's OK, we replied, there is a pool car used by our mechanics that we can let him use to get there and back. He said he'd consider it and went to talk with his wife.

Five minutes later, we received this incredible e-mail (paraphrased but accurate).
Thanks for your offer. 
I have spoken to my wife, who I always consult on work matters and which football team to play for. 
Yes, we thought that was irrelevant too, but hey.
She reminded me that I've had problems with being messed around by transport companies before where they asked me to do lots of different routes.
Kinda what driving jobs are all about, I'd have thought.
Also, I'd have to travel an hour each day to and from the training centre. I go that far for theatre and evenings out, but that is a lot of fun. Training isn't. I would find that far too stressful. 
I've also remembered that I hate driving, except in my own car. 
But you seem nice people, so thanks anyway. 
So that was a fair chunk of the morning wasted on a dead end.

I don't know how it is best to answer that kind of message, so I didn't bother. I just wish him the best of luck extricating himself from skintness by finding a job which isn't stressful but which gives him loads of money.

And if he finds one, I hope he tells me how I can get one too.

* Talking to others in our industry, the recently-implemented CPC regs have led to around 30% or more of established drivers throwing in the towel due not only to the cost, but also the dire information on how to get the training done. There are rumours that they may be scrapped - as they should be - but in the meantime, it just means higher prices for everyone due to higher wages being demanded. Clever old EU, eh?


Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

So you told the Job Centre he was another scrounging, useless b@5tard who should lose benefits?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Our transport manager did suggest it.

Bucko TheMoose said...

What a guy. I'm surprised you didn't snap his hand off. /sarc.

He sounds more suited for a role in the public sector.

nisakiman said...

Ye Gods and Little Fishes, who are these people? If I'd approached a driving job offer in that fashion when I drove interstate in Aus way back when, the response would have been short and sweet. Plus word would have got round the interstate operators PDQ (it was a bit of an exclusive club), and I probably would never have worked in the industry again.

I have to say, I would find it very difficult to drive professionally under the current regime, with this CPC rubbish. Trucks (as with cars), you learn first how to pass a test, then you get a job driving them, and then with experience you learn how to drive them. The vast majority of good truck drivers would find it difficult to re-pass the test, since they've long since left the bullshit behind them and now know how to drive properly and safely. What the CPC would appear to be doing is trying to keep truck drivers in the infancy of competence, and stamping on driving style and experience. Fools.

I'm glad I'm out of it.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Or maybe his wife is. ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I think you have the CPC requirements spot on. The only thing you misunderstand is that there is no test, all that is required is attendance. There is no pass or fail, you could turn up and fall asleep but still get your hours in and gain the certificate. They say it is about safety but it's nothing of the sort, just the usual regs foir regs sake we have come to expect of state and EU bodies.

nisakiman said...

Ah, I'd assumed (wrongly) that it involved retraining / testing. Nevertheless, it is still a complete waste of time and money; a system very obviously developed by people without a scrap of experience in the field. People who's main concern is to justify their bloated salaries, working on a theoretical scenario which has no relevance to the realities of the situation.

They will destroy us all, and they won't even understand how or why.

What a pass we have come to...

Mark.S said...

Well sorry to hear about your timewaster, he did seem somewhat lacking in the
Right Stuff" dept. Best leave him to cosy chats with the wife about football teams type employment.
Still laughing here...!

Tony said...

Wow I learn something new every day! I hold both HGV and PSV licences and although I haven't driven in that environment for about 8 years they are both due to expire next year in 2014, I was thinking of renewing them (as they're of course handy to have) by taking the hit on the medical but I would also have to shell out another £400 too?? And then do 35 hours training every 5 years after that?? Bollocks to that. I'm out.

As for the guys email that is utterly astonishing!! Better off without a bellend like that onboard Dick, he sounds like a wet blanket.

John Pickworth said...

I'm old school. Go see the boss/manager Thursday, told to start Monday. Except it isn't like that these days.

For many large companies, there are a whole raft of identity checks, passport photocopying, reference checks, often several interviews, waiting for someone in HR to return from holiday to sign-off your application and then induction days. They are short of staff, you're desperate for work... and yet... its hardly dynamic now is it?

In the past, I've operated farm machinery, driven 7.5 tonne trucks, fork lifts, large mini-buses and have worked on building sites. Except, I couldn't do any of those things now unless I hold the relevant card/paperwork. These things are fine if you are just a driver or just a construction worker and intend staying within that industry for the long term. But if you're multi-skilled, adaptable - just the sort of people needed when times are tough - then it restricts you severely.

Fortunately, I'm now self-employed but if ever the need to return to employment arose, I think I'd struggle... which is saying something when in previous recessions, I've positively flourished.

nisakiman said...

Same as that, JP. I've done all that stuff too, all back in the day when (apart from my class 1 licence) it was a question of whether or not you could do the job competently. However, since the mid 80s I've either had my own small businesses or been self-employed. And a good job too, since I have no bits of paper whatsoever, so would be unemployable, despite probably being able to do the job better than most guys with all the relevant paperwork.

The system is truly fucked.

Junican said...

Another excellent example of 'The Precautionary Principle' in action. You know ... the one which allows bureaucrats in the EU to say, "We do not know what is in ecigs and what might be the effect in thirty years time".
This 'principle' is creating mayhem everywhere.

As regards the chap who applied for the job, he may well be just going through the motions for his benefits' sake.

truckerlyn said...

CPC! tell me about it!

Working for agencies I have to fund my own courses, however it is quite alarming how different many of the courses available are in the information they provide! I also now have a mountain of paperwork from the course (still got one module to do) that I have to try and find space for at home!

Plus, although there are 5 parts to the CPC, many companies who have provided courses for their drivers have put the drivers through the same module 5 times! Apparently this is known about, but this time VOSA, or whoever it is who is responsible locally (in the UK) for this load of BS, are more concerned about people attending for the required 35 hours, rather than which modules they cover. They will tighten up next time round!

As has been said, to get your licence in whatever mode of motorised transport, you are taught to pass the test, it is only later, when you are out on the road that you actually learn to drive whatever you are behind the wheel/handlebars of. I remember when I passed my Class 2 my instructor said "So, you are a trucker now" To which I replied, "No I am most definitely not, not until I have at least 5 years experience". That was in 2008, I did Class 1 in 2009 and I am still learning every day.

If the world wants large vehicles to be safe on the roads, then it is about time they started teaching ALL drivers of smaller vehicles and motor bikes and, in particular cyclists, all about the room on the roads that large vehicles need in order to negotiate turnings and roundabouts and if these idiots want to try and cut us up then they will come off worse! I still can't understand how people in cars seem to think that regardless of the size of trucks/coaches they somehow believe they will win!

Perhaps I am the one who is in Cloud Cuckoo Land?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'm glad you pointed out the same module part, Lyn. As I understand it, you could do a first aid course every year for five years and still get your cert. How, as VOSA constantly claim, this is about safety on the roads is anyone's guess. It's just another lie we are told - public health is no longer about health, VOSA is now just a self-serving organisation producing regulations to keep them in a job. All of which emanate from Brussels which is doing exactly the same.

truckerlyn said...

The sooner someone in government finds the guts to get us out of the EU and instead strike an agreement such as the one Norway has, the better. The trouble is no-one currently in government has the guts to wipe their own backsides without permission from Brussels!