Driver trainers say many other schools just out for ‘money grab’

The co-owner of a driving school based in Canberra has claimed some truck driving schools in the ACT are just out for a “money grab” and don’t care about the quality of training or assessment they provide.

Kate Beck, who operates Beck’s Transport Training with her husband Anthony, said the truck driver training industry in the ACT is far too unregulated and inconsistent with other states.

“There are so many driver trainers that are just ticking and flicking,” she said.

“They don’t care about safety or the quality of drivers they are putting out on our roads.

“There is also no minimum number of hours that you need to complete for a licence upgrade in the ACT.

“There is no consistency between the states and it’s very frustrating.”

Beck said her driving school has never been audited in the ACT in the four years since they started their business.

“We operate in NSW and the ACT, and we’ve only ever been audited in NSW,” she said.

“We have actually asked to be audited in the ACT and it still hasn’t happened!

Beck said she’s heard many “horror stories” of what goes on at other truck driving schools.

“We have heard stories of local providers who will sign off on competencies, but when you question the student, they haven’t been taught those things.

“And these are important competencies, like load restraints and coupling and uncoupling trailers.”

Beck and her husband are frustrated because they are trying to do the right thing but claim others just “don’t care”.

“We’re battling against these organisations that will offer a shorter cut or a cheaper rate,” she said. “We can’t drop our rates because we’ve got to put a roof over our heads.

“We’re not willing to damage our reputation just because people want a quick, easy fix.”

She shared a story of one student who came in expecting to be given his licence even though his skills weren’t up to scratch. He had an international licence and needed to change over to an Australian licence.

“He failed the assessment in a couple of areas, so we couldn’t pass him. He then wrote a letter of complaint to us and left us a bad review online, saying, ‘Why couldn’t you just turn a blind eye?’

“He said he had already told his employer he passed, because he was too embarrassed to say that he failed.”

Beck said she and her husband couldn’t live with themselves if they knew they were allowing unsafe truck drivers to head out on the roads.

“My husband is an ex-driver, so we have experience of both sides of this,” she said.

“I was the wife waiting for my husband to come home, petrified something would happen.

“Whenever there is an accident, the first thing that goes through our heads is ‘Was that one of our students?’

“We have a responsibility and a duty of care, and unfortunately you can’t instill that in every driver trainer.”

Beck would like to see the auditing process for RTOs brought under the jurisdiction of the NHVR. “The states don’t want to relinquish control, but the NHVR is meant to be the national regulator – it makes no sense that they have no power in that area,” she said.

She also wants to see nationwide consistency when it comes to licensing rules.

“At the moment, people are changing their address on paper and coming to Canberra to get a truck license easier, and that has got to stop.

“There needs to be one Code of Practice for all trainers and assessors nationally, and minimum training hours for every state.

“Finally, there needs to be more auditing of trainers and assessors to make sure they are actually doing what they say they are doing.”

You must be accredited to teach and assess heavy vehicle learner drivers in the ACT, and there are currently 40 accredited heavy vehicle assessors in the state. 

Access Canberra is responsible for accrediting driving instructors and the regulation of heavy vehicle assessors. This includes assessing complaints and safety concerns.

A spokesperson for Access Canberra said that it has a team of five auditors responsible for auditing heavy vehicle assessors, motorcycle assessors, and accredited driving instructors.

“All complaints received are assessed in consideration of the Access Canberra Regulation, Complaint and Investigation,” they said. 

“Concerns regarding road safety in the ACT can be lodged using the Access Canberra website feedback and complaints form.”

1 Comment

  1. I hear it all to much too and there backed by rto
    Grab money including government funded money
    I own Gold Coast truck driving school
    I have people ring say is this the school on Gold Coast that goes into nsw passes everyone !
    Company’s advertise
    One fee you pass same day !!
    Sounds like they can’t fail !
    I had a student tell me his mate past with a certain school couldn’t drive, they just kepted stopping resetting video footage until he past to get an enough footage to record on file , I got told they move footage around ?
    really audits don’t happen !
    If they do its a tick and flick
    they should talk to employers and students about how test qwnt how they were markes assessed . tell them no fall
    back on there licence
    id say the truth will come to
    we stop reset footage , moved footage around
    i didnt reverse ect
    all one day one fee

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