Fowler Welch sends its first secondees to deliver HGV training in Tanzania

Two driver trainers from Fowler Welch have completed a fortnight’s placement at the Professional Driver Training project in Tanzania.

Fowler Welch is a regular supporter of Transaid, but this marked the first time it had sent colleagues to work on the ground on our programmes in Africa. Paul Hughes and William Robertson were seconded to the National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Dar Es Salaam, during which time they trained six trainers on practical driving techniques, safe trailer coupling and thorough vehicle checks. Two HGVs – an IVECO Stralis and IVECO Trakker – were used to deliver the training.

William Robertson on secondment in Tanzania

A core part of Transaid’s road safety work, the Professional Driver Training project aims to harmonise driver training best practice and expertise across several African countries, to help improve standards and systems. During the course, the trainers were split into two groups, each getting a chance to experience driving the vehicles and acting as an instructor. Trainers were taught to identify potential obstacles, advise the driver on positioning their vehicle on the road, and instruct them on when to carry out mirror observations.

Paul also delivered theoretical, classroom-based training, covering topics such as stopping distances, journey planning, basic first-aid and fuel efficient driving. Working in Tanzania, he said, gave him a real insight into the challenges faced by professional drivers in sub-Saharan Africa: “The main goal was to improve their driving skills and instructional abilities. We did a lot of work encouraging the trainers to look further ahead to identify potential obstructions, and then briefing the driver to react accordingly.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was the general standard of driving from other road users. Teaching people in those conditions is tough, so you really have to admire what the NIT is doing. I take my hat off to their instructors; they are doing a marvellous job.”

Paul Hughes on secondment in Tanzania

For William – who won Fowler Welch Driver of the Year in 2018 and was runner up in 2019 – the trip was an unforgettable way to use his skills to make a difference: “It was an experience I’ll remember for a lifetime. Knowing our training will help develop and make drivers more knowledgeable and safer on the roads was the biggest takeaway for me. Plus, everyone welcomed us and made us feel at home.”

We would like to thank Paul and William for delivering this important training. In Transaid CEO Caroline Barber’s words: “Our heartfelt gratitude to Paul, William and the Fowler Welch team for delivering this fantastic training input at NIT. Their combined efforts will go a long way to helping us raise both the capacity and standard of HGV driver training, which will in turn reduce fatalities on Africa’s roads. You can’t put a value on this training; it’s going to save lives.”