HRH The Princess Royal praises transport charity Transaid’s road safety efforts

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal praised the life-saving work of international development charity Transaid, after the organisation revealed at its annual showcase it is now delivering more programmes in more countries to help improve road safety than ever before.

As patron of the charity The Princess Royal addressed a room of transport and logistics professionals in Canary Wharf yesterday (Wednesday, 19 November). She said: “When Transaid first started it was very much following the Save the Children’s ‘Stop Polio’ campaign, where logistics and transport were crucial to the delivery of the vaccine and it was the idea of getting expertise into the system that created Transaid.

“Transaid has taken on that role, but also has a real understanding of where you can make a difference through organising better transport and logistics, as well as through driver training – and that has really stood the test of time, in terms of the quality of its work and people coming back for more advice.”

The charity shared a number of shocking figures at the event which was sponsored by Barclays, including approximately 1.24 million people are killed on roads worldwide each year. This figure equates to 3,500 road-related deaths every day, and around 3,000 of those killed are from developing countries. The Princess Royal called the figures frightening, stating it was ‘horrific’ that more people die from road traffic accidents than Malaria in Africa.

Transaid also used the occasion to highlight some of its main achievements over the past 12 months, including receiving a £1.89 million grant from Comic Relief to help improve maternal health in Zambia, the addition of two new corporate members, Yusen Logistics and Malcolm Logistics – the charity also celebrated the fundraising efforts of its supporters who took part in its London to Brussels bike ride in September raising £67,000.

Acting Chief Executive Caroline Barber said: “Transaid has had a very successful 12 months, running projects in seven countries. At Buckingham Palace last year we announced the award of a substantial grant from Comic Relief for our emergency transport work in Nigeria. That programme is going extremely well despite the security challenges in the north of the country. So far over 700 drivers have received comprehensive emergency transport training and as I speak are busy performing their roles as ‘lifesavers’ in their communities.”

Arrival of Trucks and Trailers Increases Training Capacity

Two trucks, a trailer and a container have arrived at the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka, Zambia to further the development of the Professional Driver Training Project.

The vehicles donated by MAN Truck and Bus and Britcom International were shipped to South Africa by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and also contained spare parts for the existing vehicles at the centre.

This marks the third donation of its kind, enabling students to benefit from even more practical training. The addition of a third trailer and a container will now give drivers the added experience of practical driving with a physical load. This experience is vital to creating safer drivers who are more risk aware, especially when carrying loads of up to 50 tons of steel.

To date the project has trained over 1000 drivers and has now begun training Transport Managers which is the next step to improving driver training capacity.  Transaid was also nominated as a Third Sector Awards 2010 Finalist under the category of small charity, big achiever for the success of the Professional Driver Training Project.

Driver Training Study Tour March 2011

Zambian driver trainers Malikana Ailola and Peter Tembo visited the UK to take part in the first ever Transaid driver trainer study tour.  The trainers, based at the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Zambia, were hosted by several Transaid member companies to see how transport and logistics operations work in the UK.

The visit is part of an ongoing exchange of expertise and shared best practice between the UK and the Zambian Institute as part of Transaid’s Professional Driver Training Project to improve commercial vehicle driving standards in Africa. Participating companies have also sent volunteers to Zambia.

Peter and Malikana followed an intensive programme of training and observation which included a variety of warehouse visits, operating in a hazardous chemical environment, forklift truck and tyre safety training for trainers, and visits to truck manufacturers and bus operations.

This combination of additional training and shadowing of transport managers enabled the Zambian trainers to pick up additional skills and consolidate their learning further.  Senior Trainer Malikana, was greatly inspired by what he saw and will use the information generated to create new modules of training in Zambia.  The pair have also taken back what they have learned to share with other trainers.

There are now six qualified trainers in place at the ITC since the project began in late 2008 and over 1400 drivers and 70 transport managers have been trained.

Transaid is grateful to all the companies who supported this initiative including:  Bibby Distribution, Ceva Logistics, Clipper Logistics, Hoyer, MAN Truck & Bus, Michelin, Norbert Dentressangle, Stagecoach and Wincanton.

FTA engineer completes four week training project in Tanzania

An engineer from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has returned to the UK after a four-week secondment in Africa which saw him training Tanzanian Police to carry out HGV and PSV vehicle inspections at the roadside.

Wyn Skyrme, from Newport, Gwent, spent a total of 26 days in Dar Es Salaam during February and March 2012, supporting international development charity Transaid’s Professional Driving Training Project with the National Institute of Transport (NIT).

The primary goal of his visit was to train both NIT staff and Police vehicle inspectors to conduct commercial vehicle inspections and defect assessments to UK best practice standards.

Commenting on his experience in Tanzania, Wyn says: “My training was split between the classroom, NIT’s workshops and real-life inspections on the Tanzanian highways.  The work at the roadside was a massive eye-opener for me; it reinforced the importance of Transaid’s Professional Driver Training Project and the vital need to raise vehicle maintenance standards to help improve road safety.

“I found it overwhelming just how much respect the people of Tanzania have for what Transaid is doing.  I was inundated with messages of thanks from those I met – they really value the assistance being provided,” he explains.

Wyn put his 29 years of transport industry expertise and a copy of VOSA’s Inspection Manual to maximum use during his time in Tanzania.  He spent the first two weeks at the NIT, where he trained 12 HGV and PSV engineers in vehicle inspection procedures, diagnostics, workshop safety and environmental issues.

During the third and fourth week he teamed up with 28 police vehicle inspectors from across Tanzania to demonstrate how to carry out real-life vehicle inspections to UK roadside enforcement standards. This training marked a first for Transaid in Tanzania, helping to take the charity’s impact to a wider institutional level.

At the end of his visit, all those who had been trained were awarded certificates to recognise their new skills and provided with the information and resources to ensure this vital training can be shared and passed-on to colleagues nationwide.

Commenting on the success of the project, Gary Forster, Chief Executive of Transaid, explains: “Whenever we have a volunteer on the ground we challenge ourselves to make the maximum use of every hour of their stay.  Wyn’s trip is a prime example of just how much can be achieved in a short space of time.  His efforts have made a significant contribution in our efforts to raise training standards and road safety in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are particularly encouraged by this support from a leading industry body and our sincere thanks go to Wyn and to the FTA for its generous donation of time and expertise.”

Transaid and Bibby Distribution team up again in Africa

A driver training consultant on secondment from Bibby Distribution has completed his second two-week project with Transaid in Africa, training a group of truck driving instructors to deliver better training at the National Institute of Transport in Tanzania.

4,000 people are killed on Tanzania’s roads each year and bus, coach and truck drivers there have historically hit the road without adequate training. To save some of those lives Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Training consultant with Bibby, overcame humidity, difficult road conditions and a Swahili language barrier, all on behalf of Transaid.

Having previously worked on a separate Transaid project in Zambia in 2009, Aspden knew to expect challenging driving conditions in Africa. But conditions in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam were a little more challenging still. Aspden saw buses overtaking on blind hills over solid white lines, trucks with their cargo inadequately secured, and met a policeman who had recently arrested a bus driver for having no brakes and no reverse gear, despite carrying passengers on a regular 250-mile journey.

“Fortunately the policeman had recently received vehicle inspection training from another Transaid volunteer from the Freight Transport Association,” says Aspden. “So he was able to identify the problems on the bus, and avert a potential disaster.”

Three Tanzanian truck driving instructors gained an instructor certification as a result of their efforts and Aspden’s help. Their training was split over two weeks, with the first week focused on driving best practice, and the second week on instruction techniques.

Aspden had a challenging time in Tanzania, having to work through a translator to deliver the training in temperatures that were considerably hotter than the UK’s.

Bibby Distribution chief executive Iain Speak explains why the firm is so pleased to be part of work like this.

“Bibby Distribution is a founding member of Transaid because regardless of industry or experience, road safety worldwide is still vital,” says Speak. “We’re pleased to help out with overseas projects and spread our expertise to save lives, and we’re very proud that our own people are up for the challenges to make a real difference.”

Transaid’s project coordinator in Tanzania says the training is operating on the “teach-a-man-to-fish” principle.

“We’re very grateful to Bibby Distribution for letting us make use of Jon’s expertise, and to Jon for coming out here to help develop much-needed driver instructor skills in Tanzania,” says Transaid’s Tanzania project manager Neil Rettie. “The three instructors are now well on their way to being able to pass on their skills to more driver trainers and they hope to have trained a further three instructors by the end of the year. This will not only save more lives on the roads but also ensure that this type of training becomes locally sustainable.”

Fresh National Express effort sustains Transaid’s Tanzania work

National Express Bus has sent two more Driver Training Instructors to Africa with Transaid, further cementing the company’s relationship with the industry charity, which saves lives through transportation-related projects across the developing world.

The trip was part of National Express’s continued commitment to support Transaid this year, with trainers Phil Reynolds and Kevin Roberts spending two weeks training six driving instructors at Tanzania’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Dar es Salaam.

Reynolds says: “I’ve been with National Express for 26 years, and this was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I have faced with the company. I was proud to front our engagement with Transaid in Tanzania and would recommend the experience to anyone else in the industry who might be considering it.”

Gary Forster, Chief Executive of Transaid, says: “Road crashes are now the biggest killer of economically productive adults around the world, according to the World Health Organisation. But Transaid is only as strong as its partners in tackling this problem, and National Express has been a stalwart partner in our life-saving efforts in Tanzania.”

During regular working hours at National Express, Reynolds and Roberts deliver training interventions that cover a wide spectrum of content from training new people to attain the UK PCV licence, to coaching existing drivers with many years service in the most up to date practises of safe driving techniques, customer service and company values.

The men had to cope with a language barrier to deliver instructor training to two of the six instructors they were training. They focused on driving ability, instructional techniques, and daily vehicle check training. They placed an emphasis on on-the-road training rather than classroom-based theory, and prepared reports for Transaid and the NIT on their experience. Reynolds and Roberts also updated a blog of their experiences in Tanzania at

Earlier this year, National Express driver trainers Raj Bhutta and Arthur Baddams ran a similar training input at the NIT.

Michelin training instructor tackles tyre safety in Tanzania

Michelin Training Instructor Carl Williams swapped the Michelin Training Centre in Stoke-on-Trent for the sweltering humidity of Dar es Salaam earlier this month, as part of a two week secondment in Tanzania, with road transport charity Transaid.

Carl flew 4,700 miles to deliver two week-long courses to highlight how better tyres mean safer roads, and safer roads mean fewer casualties. Road deaths are the third biggest premature killer in sub-Saharan Africa, and Tanzania alone suffers around 4,000 fatalities each year due to road crashes.

Carl’s training input formed part of Transaid’s Professional Driver Training Project, which sees the charity work closely with the country’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) to improve road safety and save lives. Attending the course were commercial vehicle driver trainers and regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including representatives from the Tanzanian Police Force.

Speaking on his return, Carl says: “In my first week there were 11 people on my course. In week two I started with 13, but within 24 hours this had grown to 18; it was comforting to know people were spreading the word and actively wanting to attend.

“Some of the most valuable lessons came when we ventured outside to escape the intense heat of the classroom. On one occasion we found a commercial vehicle tyre which had suffered from such extreme under-inflation it had delaminated. It was a shocking sight, but helped to put the theory I’d been teaching into context.”

Carl found tyre repair standards differed wildly to the UK, with plug repairs and the use of liquid sealant commonplace, plus sidewall repairs are frequently undertaken. He used his experience to explain why sidewall repairs were not advised due to flexing, gaining an undertaking from the group to avoid such repairs in the future.

“The two weeks were challenging, but also thoroughly rewarding as the groups were so receptive to what I was teaching. By the time I left I felt they had a firm grasp of the importance of tyre inspections and the need to enforce existing regulations.

“I also met some incredible people during my time in-country. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this experience to my Michelin colleagues in the future,” adds Carl.

Gary Forster, Chief Executive of Transaid, says: “Carl’s training in Tanzania has helped us reinforce the message that adhering to basic rules of tyre inspection and maintenance can improve safety and reduce the number of road traffic crashes. Everything the group learned will be cascaded to colleagues across the industry and to future trainees at the NIT. You can’t put a value on this training; it’s going to save lives.”

Transaid’s support of the NIT in Tanzania is an extension of a similar project run in Zambia – originally launched by Transaid’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal, in October 2008.

The Professional Driving Training Project is designed to help make commercial drivers and those working in the transport industry better skilled and safer, teaching them a greater understanding of the many risks and creating self-awareness of their impact to other road users.

Logistics graduate embarks on African adventure with Transaid

A graduate from Norbert Dentressangle has swapped the UK for the sweltering heat of Tanzania, on a six month secondment with international development charity, Transaid.

Rebecca Smith, 26, who has worked for Norbert Dentressangle for three years, flew out to Dar es Salaam as part of her two-year Fast Track Talent Programme placement with the logistics specialist.

Rebecca will be supporting Transaid and Tanzania’s National Institute of Transport (NIT) on a number of initiatives including the Professional Driver Training Project, which promotes the improvement of driver training standards and develops programmes to help enhance driver competence, road safety and the efficient use of commercial vehicles.

She will be continuing the work of last year’s graduate Artem Avdeev, who worked with local fleet managers and transport companies to help them understand the benefits their drivers would receive by undertaking the training courses.  Rebecca will also be responsible for managing NIT’s training garage, developing revenue sources and running practical courses.

“I’m so excited and privileged to be working for such a fantastic organisation.  The partnership between Norbert Dentressangle and Transaid is one that is taken very seriously by everyone in my company and I’ll be giving all my colleagues back in the UK regular updates on all the things I get involved with,” said Rebecca.

Jacqueline Hector, Transaid’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, said: “It’s really great that Norbert Dentressangle supports Transaid by placing their graduates out in Africa with us.  Not only does it expose the work of Transaid to a new generation, who join our projects with great enthusiasm and new perspectives on tackling transport issues, but it also gives Norbert Dentressangle’s graduate programme a real edge making it one of the most popular in the industry.”

Norbert Dentressangle’s Fast Track Talent Programme is a two year programme consisting of four six month placements in different areas of the business such as warehousing and transport planning, as well as the opportunity to work overseas.  For more information about next year’s programme visit and to follow Rebecca’s time in Tanzania visit her blog at

National Express volunteers double the success of training scheme trip to Tanzania

Two National Express West Midlands engineers who visited Tanzania to train local engineers on a two-week charity placement, also managed to fix a bus which had been broken for more than two years.

Volunteers Ges Poole and Ian Baker successfully fulfilled the primary objective of their trip, organised by the transport industry’s charity Transaid, by training 10 members of the National Institute of Transport (NIT) engineering department in Dar es Salaam in a variety of subjects from vehicle inspection to repair and maintenance.

But when their training moved from the classroom to the workshop, and the Birmingham-based pair were shown a bus which had been broken for two and a half years, their lessons really came to life.

Ian, who works as a fitter at National Express’ Perry Barr base, says: “There was no better way of giving the students the real hands-on experience needed to supplement the theory they learned in the classroom; their hard work means the broken bus is back running again.”

After the students were shown how to fix faulty electrics and a broken ignition, Ian and Ges gave the bus a thorough inspection and test drive before declaring the vehicle roadworthy once more.

Ges, who is National Express’ Engineering Training Manager, says: “Fixing the broken bus was an added bonus for us. The students also now know how to check the steering and suspension systems of the NIT’s entire fleet, and are trialling a new service and inspection check which will be used for all future maintenance work.”

Although National Express has taken part in driver training programmes for Transaid for the last three years, the latest placement was the first time it has sent a team of engineers to share their expertise. Ges and Ian worked alongside Course Co-ordinator Becky Smith, who is currently on secondment from Norbert Dentressangle.