Humberside Training Associates (HTA) has launched its Taxi and Private Hire Driver BTEC and functional skills courses into South and West Yorkshire as councils across the country ramp-up requirements on new and existing driver qualifications.
Work-based learning provider HTA started delivering Pearson-accredited BTEC Level 2 Taxi training and Level 3 Numeracy and Level 1 Literacy courses to taxi and private hire drivers in Hull and East Yorkshire in the middle of last year.
“Existing and potential new taxi and private hire drivers across South and West Yorkshire will now be able to enrol on those courses,” said Callum Young, Director of Education and Learning at Hull-based HTA.
“We are incredibly excited about how the HTA business is growing and really looking forward to helping put more fully trained, competent and professionally qualified taxi and private hire drivers on the road.”
Part of the impetus to expand HTA’s new BTEC Taxi and private hire driver courses into the towns and cities of South and West Yorkshire comes from more stringent compulsory requirements by local councils for new, and sometimes existing, drivers to have this BTEC, or other equivalent, qualification.
To help the taxi and private hire drivers and industry Humberside Training Associates has worked closely with the Humber Taxi Association, which is keen to support local people across the country develop professional driving careers.
Magnus Murray, secretary of the Humber Taxi Association, said: “The BTEC Level 2 certificate we have helped create with Humberside Training Associates is the perfect solution to what is increasingly a compulsory requirement by local councils to ensure drivers are professional and well qualified.
“While these requirements are simply not going to go away, we don’t want potential drivers to be put off from pursuing a career as a taxi or private hire driver, which can be very rewarding in its flexibility and income potential.
“Drivers learn about how to assist people with guide dogs, people in wheelchairs and issues around religion. For example, the course helps to explain how drivers cannot refuse to drive someone on religious grounds and that they can only refuse to drive someone with a guide dog if they have a registered allergy to dogs. It’s also unlawful and illegal to not drive someone in a wheelchair.
“We also give students the Department of Transport’s best practice guidance on Taxi and private hire licensing. All of this combined together is proving to be effective in helping to reduce prosecutions against drivers, by reinforcing that they are an honest, fit and proper taxi driver, which, in turn, is protecting drivers’ livelihoods by preventing complaints against them and reducing licence withdrawals.”
A large part of the drivers’ training is achieved through a professional, established distance learning package which is combined with on-site practical training and theoretical examinations taking place at a purpose-built space at the Wilberforce Centre, off Hessle Road, Hull, which HTA has developed with the Humber Taxi Association and its driver members.
Mr Young added: “Candidates lose as little time away from work as possible as the vast majority of training can be done at home; this means we are seeing candidates on the course spending as little as one day on practical and theoretical tests here in Hull. Depending on demand from drivers, we expect that we will also be able to provide these tests in South and West Yorkshire.”