People in East Yorkshire who want to train as taxi or private hire drivers have just received a much needed boost from Humberside Training Associates, which is now providing the mandatory NVQ Level 2 training qualification across the East Riding.
The Hull work-based learning provider has been accredited by Highfield Qualifications to offer the Taxi NVQ, which is required by East Riding of Yorkshire Council licensing for all new taxi and private hire drivers.
The Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving (Taxi and Private Hire) covers driver and passenger safety; professional customer service; vehicle legality and safety; parcel and luggage transport; passenger payments and route planning.
Humberside Training Associates already offers the Highfield accredited taxi and private hire driver B-TEC Level 2 and Level 1 Numeracy and Level 2 Literacy.
Dave Stuart, director, said: "We have seen a sharp increase in people inquiring about how they can become a taxi or private hire driver in East Yorkshire, and also in Hull. There's a couple of motivating factors behind this - local people are looking at how they can re-train to boost their income during and after Covid-19 and they can see it could be a good business opportunity serving passengers who prefer to take a taxi instead of using public transport.
'There's also a genuine lack of taxi and private hire drivers across the region - Humberside Training Associates offering the NVQ will help plug that gap."
One key element of the Humberside Training Associates training is its additional 'fit and proper persons' package that the company chooses to provide to students.
"This is over and above what the basic curriculum offers," added Mr Stuart, "but comes at no extra cost to students. What it does is show how important it is for drivers to understand their legal obligations including for disabled passengers and passengers with guide dogs."
This added value approach to the taxi industry has arisen from HTA's proactive relationship with the Institute of Licensing, of which it is a member, Westminster's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, and the Task and Finish Group on Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles.
Studying for both the NVQ - or the B-TEC - is done through a distance learning package with any required invigilated testing and practical assessments taking place at one of HTA's approved training centres.
“The centre is fully geared up for social distancing measures, inlcuding screened booths, floor markings, sanitation stations and timed assessment sessions," added Mr Stuart, who, prior to setting up HTA, was a trainer with the British Transport Police, a teacher and 6th Form assessor. HTA's course invigilator and assessor is Bruce Talbot, a similarly experieced educational professional.
"Everyone who delivers our courses and invigilates the exams is a fully qualified and experienced secondary and further education teacher with excellent people skills and an abundance of practical and theoretical knowledge about the subjects they are leading on.
"We are keenly aware of the threats posed by Covid-19 and will ensure that all social interaction is only done within the required health and legal pararmeters."