Confusion and delay in driver training scheme
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A NATIONAL check on the TOPS scheme for training hgv drivers, carried orit by CM this week, reveals that there are delays of between nine months and two years for training places; and in three areas applications for training have been suspended.
The Department of Employment office in Cardiff told us that the earliest training place they could expect to offer was in about nine months' time.
Glasgow and Manchester have 12 months' delay; Liverpool 18 months; Norwich 12 months, but all applications suspended; and Birmingham two years — but applications have been suspended there for the past two weeks. The Newcastle office was vague about the local situation, and said that the local group training association was "more or less a private concern".
In the first four months of the scheme organized by the Department of Employment, 856 . unemployed people have been accepted for training. According to a spokesman for the RTITB: "As many have been refused training by group training association as unsuitable."
The scheme was designed to produce 5,000 drivers a year, but a spokesman for the Department of Employment told CM this week: "Of course we do not expect to do that in the first year, that is the target, but no one expects to meet his target in the first year of any scheme." At the present rate only half the target figures will be achieved.
The Employment spokesman said that the reason for the shortfall was initially lack of vehicles, which he inevitably blamed on the three-day week, "the lack of impetus in getting the scheme off the ground, and now a serious shortage of training places".
The RTITB ,said that it was geared to reach the target of 5,000 and confidently expected to do so despite the pessimism expressed by the Department of Employment. The Board was critical, however, of the way the scheme was being operated. "It must be obvious at local employment exchanges that many of the candidates whom they send along to the GTAs are totally unsuitable," said a spokesman. It is after ment at the GTA that 5 cent of the applicant! turned down.
The RTITB this asked the Departmet Employment to exten, scheme to company ce and commercial di schools, and presuma the request is granted the Board will feel that exceed the 5,000 targe Some GTAs have gested that payment m; them by the Departfn inadequate. They r £3.50 for each assess £13.50 per day for C trainees and £15.50 fot 1 trainees. In additic trainee receives paym excess of normal uner ment benefit, plus t ing, subsistence an commodation allowat