Fleet News

Career change: but which way to go?

CLIVE Woodwood, England’s former rugby coach, recently announced his departure from international rugby with the national sports press hinting at a move into football.

At first it seems a drastic career change but the basic skills required for both jobs are similar – and there is no reason why fleet managers cannot adopt the same approach.

After all, there may be a time when it becomes necessary to change. Fleet managers are becoming an endangered species as other members of staff such as HR managers, financial directors and secretaries are playing a greater role in making fleet decisions (Fleet NewsNet, August 24).

Confidence and the courage to take risks are two traits that can help when deciding to make a complete career change, but there are several skills which a fleet manager can transfer.

Basic management skills can be used across a wide spectrum of careers.

A spokesman at the Chartered Management Institute outlined some of these transferable attributes.

Firstly there is people management – this includes getting the best from staff, communicating and dealing with staff issues.

Secondly comes the ability to manage resources – a fleet manager may have 60 vehicles and 70 staff which need them. Budgets and financial controls also need to be monitored.

Thirdly, fleet managers can meet customer needs – this includes drivers, employers, dealers and manufacturers.

The average person will change jobs every two years and have a total career change three times in his or her working life. But if you are tempted to take the plunge, there are some points to consider before handing in your notice.

The spokesman said: ‘Before embarking on a change, fleet managers must consider whether they are prepared to start at the bottom, taking a rung down the ladder.

‘They may also need to invest in training. They may be able to transfer managerial skills but they may need to learn new skills. This could impact on leisure time and it could have financial implications. Also consider whether a change in career is really necessary, as just a change in job may suffice.’ There are several career-related paths a fleet manager can go down. Fleet News takes a look at some of them.

Changing careers – some points to consider

  • Giving up successful careers and starting afresh may seem daunting. But before you make a decision, you have to consider all your options because change for change’s sake is, potentially, a recipe for disaster. And is it really the career that is getting to you, or would a change of employer be enough?

  • Think about the re-training too. Can you afford to go without income while you are learning new skills? And money is not the only consideration. Training sometimes means tests, so ensure you have considered what effect weekend study will have on your personal life.

  • We all have to learn new skills throughout our careers, but before changing sector, make sure you have identified the right career path. The last thing you want to do is to leave a successful career and find yourself regretting it soon afterwards.

  • If you have progressed up the corporate ladder, it is also worth remembering that a new career is likely to mean starting at the bottom. Are you prepared to start working your way up again?

  • But if you do decide to take the plunge, research every aspect of a new role before you actually abandon your current one. There is likely to be a professional body that can give you detailed advice and it is always worth speaking to contacts in your chosen profession – it might reveal opportunities or pitfalls you haven’t considered.

    (Source: The Chartered Management Institute)

    Fleet consultant

  • Job Description: advises fleets on all aspects of fleet policy. Covers areas such as vehicle entitlement and allocation, replacement cycles, fuel use, environmental and safety implications, licence checking, risk management, administration, training and fleet reporting

  • Qualifications: no set qualifications but fleet managers would need to have a solid understanding of the fleet market

  • Training: completed on the job, but qualifications such as the NVQ, diploma or degree would be beneficial

  • Salary Expectations: £20,000 to £65,000

    Human resources (HR) manager

  • Job Description: develops and implements polices which directly affect staff employed by a company. Usually employed by the personnel department, the HR manager is responsible for recruiting new staff, providing training and looking after issues such as health and safety. HR managers may also be required to advise staff on issues such as redundancy, pay and legal issues

  • Qualifications: there are no set requirements but some companies may ask for five or more GSCEs, a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a degree

  • Training: HR managers are able to train as part of the job. There are a number of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications which can be attained but these can be achieved outside working hours, either on a course or as distance learning

  • Salary Expectations: from £14,000 to £60,000

    Transport manager

  • Job Description: similar to a fleet manager, the transport manager is responsible for organising drivers’ routes and schedules. Journeys must be planned with risk management policies and legal requirements in mind. Driving hours, health and safety legislation, fuel economy and vehicle checking are part of the job

  • Qualifications: a transport manager will need to have or be working towards the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) of the Department for Transport, Local Government and Regions (DTLR)

  • Training: fleet managers at managerial level may be able to take up a position without the qualification but there are several NVQs relating to transport. These cover topics such as organising road transport operations, distribution and warehousing, or transporting goods by road

  • Salary Expectations: £20,000 to £80,000

    Distribution manager

  • Job Description: the distribution manager works closely with the transport manager but arranges the delivery of the goods rather than the movement of vehicles. Distribution managers need to maintain stock levels and ensure deliveries are met on time. This requires drivers, vehicles and goods to be tracked and monitored often using database systems

  • Qualifications: a college qualification such as an NVQ or BTEC is sometimes required alongside a degree in a logistics related field

  • Training: the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) offers certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses with modules in logistics and transport. NVQs are available in distribution and warehousing operations and performing road haulage and distribution operations

  • Salary Expectations: £14,000 to £60,000

    Risk manager

  • Job Description: provides policies and strategies for cost and time risk analysis. Educates and trains employees on risk management, prepares reports covering areas such as health and safety, driver awareness and journey planning. Works under budget controls and monitors company finances

  • Qualifications: no set qualifications but qualifications such as the NVQ, diploma or degree would be beneficial. The Institute of Risk Management also offers a diploma in risk management

  • Training: completed on the job

  • Salary Expectations: £20,000 to £50,000

    Health and safety officer

  • Job Description: responsible for developing health and safety policies for the whole company, not specifically road-related. Staff need to be informed and updated on issues such as fire regulations, first aid, occupational health, operating hazardous machinery and vehicle safety. Health and safety audits need to be completed and officers need to comply with the current law

  • Qualifications: a position can be taken with relevant experience but officers can work towards a degree in occupational health and safety. There are also NVQ courses in health and safety covering topics such as occupational health and safety practice

  • Training: training is completed mainly on the job, but courses can be completed either part-time or as distance learning

  • Salary Expectations: £17,000 to £50,000
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