One of the founders of fleet training in the UK believes thousands of fleet managers fail to undergo training because they fail to understand their role and how it will change in the future – and not because there is a lack of funding available.
Peter Moxon made his comments after a recent story in Fleet News revealed how a hard-hitting call for the Government to fund formal fleet management training had divided the industry.
Delegates at the Fleet News Spring Conference: Safety in Numbers were told that central funding would help employers invest in training which could improve safety among Britain's millions of company car and van drivers.
But Moxon, a co-founder of both the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) and the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) – both keen advocates of proper fleet training – believes otherwise.
He now runs his own vehicle management business in Sheffield and says a lack of commitment towards training in the industry is not a new phenomenon.
He said: 'There is a complete lack of understanding, commitment and appreciation for the value of fleet manager training but that is not new – it was the same in 1991 when I co-founded the Institute of Car Fleet Management. But this apathy must change.
'The ICFM was created to offer training to new fleet managers because we were worried that people taking on the role did not even know the basics.
'I am convinced that the reason so few of those associated with fleet management fail to undergo training is not through lack of funding in the industry, but rather through a lack of commitment and a failure to recognise the way in which the role of the fleet manager is changing.'
He estimated that up to 20,000 people could be involved in fleet management but that ICFM membership has never exceeded 1,000 people.
Moxon's comments are backed by Chris Chandler, who is training director at Fleet Audits, which also offers training courses.
He believes that the top echelons of the UK fleet industry ensure Britain's status as a centre of fleet excellence is a worthy one but that there are many thousands of fleet managers, predominantly at smaller companies, who lack basic training and have no commitment to being trained.
He said: 'There are many fleet managers who are not focused on wholelife costs or health and safety issues. If they can match the number of drivers they employ to the number of cars sat in the car park then they think that is their job done. It is all down to apathy.'
Both blame employers and individual fleet managers for the lack of interest, although last year's Fleet News Get Trained campaign prompted a huge response from many in the industry wanting adequate training.