Assessment Drive #1

Hi everyone , I took my first assessment drive with a local training firm last week and need some advise from people who know more than I. :slight_smile:

First time in a truck ( Scania 94 230 ) and boy what an experience , the whole deal was scary at first but ■■■■ I enjoyed it.

I got showed around the truck at first and then off we went turning round in the yard and then off out onto the roads.

I was told that I should only use 3rd gear and above and ignore 1 , 2 as they are not needed , I successfully managed to drive around for near 2 hours and managed to get back to the yard with no damage to the truck and still alive haha.

The trainer told me no disrespect but you need to grow up as you are still a boy racer and my use of the parking brake was non existent, a bit like my mirror checking.
I was also told that I must love hugs as hugging the curb too much.

Now a few problems with the trainer , he spoke all the time and way to much while I was trying to concentrate , When he changed the gear for me he never told me what I was in so I was getting mixed up with the gear changes which caused me to stall it. He put me down in a few ways but in a joking fashion don’t think he meant anything by it but still , takes the mickey when its your first time in a truck.

I kind of felt I was stood up to mess it up so I would have to do 6 days training.

Now after we came back to the yard he said that I need a lot of work so it’ll be 5 days training , test on the 6th day which would cost £1555. ? :confused:
Can anyone tell me if this is a rip off for a Category C , 2:1 set up , 4 hours drive per day?

I very much doubt I’ll go back there…

Assessment drives are not only a chance for the trainer to assess how much training you need but also a chance for you to see what the trainer is like etc. As for using the parking brake, well I used it maybe once on my test (other than the pulling over exercises). No issues with not using it all the time although others may see it different. My training was done 2:1 and cost £873 with test on day 3. I would suggest you try somewhere else. Doesn’t seem like you got on too well with the trainer anyway.

This conversation is going to be more about the 2:1 training than the training you actually need.

Imagine if you are the trainer. The next course you’ve arranged is for someone needing (or, at least, booking) 5 days with test on day 6. If you genuinely need the same he’s dropped on very lucky hasn’t he? But what would you say, if you were him, and the new candidate (you) only needs 4 days with test on day 5? Would you ■■■■ your course up or try and go for 5 with test on day 6? I’m not saying this is what is happening as I dont know the trainer, your standard of driving or the quality of the assessment. But it’s worth considering.

From what you say, you are no different to most and would pass a test with 14 hours 1:1 with test to follow. Out of interest we charge £1350 for that.

So difficult for you guys to compare like with like. eg our hourly rate is VERY high but the number of hours needed is low. Why? Straightforward test area, own test centre, new purpose built vehicles, 100% qualified DSA reg instructors, accredited training centre - - it goes on and on. You can try and compare with the nice fella with one truck parked in the corner of a yard, unqualified, truck 10 years old and done a million miles (literally), sharing reversing area on an airfield some miles away, testing some miles in the other direction and the trainer on the phone half the time. There really is no comparison.

I saw a slogan on a van this weekend that is something like " Good service is expensive - Excellent service is priceless". I like that.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Deffo go for another assessment - there are many good trainers in the Northants area who test out of Weedon

Wisenight used to have a really good rep in that area but I have not heard anything about them in the last few years

Go for another assessment drive or 2 at different training companies. I say this as it will give you an idea of how much training you will need but will also find where you find yourself most comfortable at doing the training. I will be looking around for assessment drives after my theory tests in december and plan on going to about 4 or 5 around my local area to see where I’m most comfortable and where I feel I would benefit best from training.

HTH :slight_smile:

Cheers

Jonny :sunglasses:

RubberDucky89:
The trainer told me no disrespect but you need to grow up as you are still a boy racer and my use of the parking brake was non existent, a bit like my mirror checking.

I was also told that I must love hugs as hugging the curb too much.

Now a few problems with the trainer , he spoke all the time and way to much while I was trying to concentrate , When he changed the gear for me he never told me what I was in so I was getting mixed up with the gear changes which caused me to stall it. He put me down in a few ways but in a joking fashion don’t think he meant anything by it but still , takes the mickey when its your first time in a truck.
.

Nothing unusual in you making errors, that is why you need training. Speed, positioning, handbrake, and especially mirrors are all fairly common faults for a new driver.

As for the trainer, just remind me HOW MUCH of YOUR money are you going to pay him to be personally disrespectful to you? “Boy racer” is not a compliment, “must love hugs” is just a dig at you - he is making it all personal. Pointing out errors is fine, (and part of what you pay for) but having a go at you personally… well I know what I would do.

I know what I would have done, , walked out of there and find somewhere else tbh, theres one thing having faults pointed out thats what an assessment is about but to make personal comments isnt on at all.

As for not using the parking brake enough if the road or traffic conditions dont need it dont use it, im sure he didn’t say on the assessment you must use it X or Y amount.

Jeff.

I’ve never quite grasped the idea of assessments. Let me explain. I have been training drivers since year dot and fully understand what is required a) to make a half decent driver and b) to pass the test.

So now let’s imagine the assessment scenario. Potentially we have a candidate who has never sat in a truck and has driven the family car backwards and forwards to work. So not a highly experienced driver (this is quite normal BTW).

Now put the candidate in a truck - twice as long as his car and nearly twice as wide and sitting up in the air. Now throw in air brakes, no rear visibility and an 8 speed gearbox and let’s see what happens. Isn’t it obvious? What baffles me is the assumption that anyone can be assessed at their ability/suitability for driving trucks when this is the first attempt. In reality, what happens is a comparitively rushed version of the first lesson with little time to practice. This can so easily end up with a demoralised candidate and a trainer really not having a great idea as to how much training is required.

Everyone has what I call a “concentration pot”. First off, at least 85% of the concentration heads straight to the gear lever. So how can I assess progress, mirrors, road position, meeting other traffic etc etc?

Assessments are a valuable tool under some circumstances: someone who has some experience (maybe a coach driver, 7.5 tonne driver, partly trained truck driver) OR to see just how you get on with the trainer and get a “feel” for how comfortable you are. And I actively encourage this

One thing that it’s impossible to assess is the rate of learning. I’ve had it when the candidate comes with perhaps one or two issues having been partly trained. So you have a wild guess (it really cant be anything else) at x hours training. With one person, the issues will be totally sorted in half an hour. With another it could take 2 days. Who knows? Certainly not the trainer.

There are some well respected trainers on the forum that will disagree with me - but I’m speaking as I find.

Tin hat on …

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

I agree with you it is down to the individual.
When I did my class 1 I had already driven smaller trucks but the school I went with was training a girl who didn’t even have a car licence, she had 5 days training and passed first go, all licences in one go, as I say it’s down to the individual.

How well someone picks things up can be gained on an assessment

If I was in your position I would try another trainer. 1550 quid is a wedge of cash and I sect it took you plenty of time to save it or you got a loan which you’ll pay off over time.

You need to be completely happy with the bloke you’re giving your wedge to. Perhaps you do need 5 days training, perhaps you do love hugs, perhaps you are a boy racer at heart, but even if you are, if I was giving someone my hard earned money I wouldn’t want belittling thrown in.

The fact you have posted on here tells me you’re not 100% happy with the bloke. There are bound to be other trainers round your way, the assessment drive costs next to nothing, I’d spend the money and see if you can find a trainer you gel with better.

If I was looking to train now, from what I’ve seen on here and nothing else, i’d travel and spend the money with Peter, his attitude seems to fit well.

If you are anywhere near the East Midlands, give Mr Smythes office a ring and get yourself an assessment. Then you’ll see how it should be done and how unwise you’d be to part with your money to the idiot that has no idea how to teach.

Thank you for the feedback everyone , I think I decided that I wouldn’t go back there soon as the first comment came out :laughing:

I have called up Peter Smythe’s yesterday and got all the information and had a good natter with the chap on the phone. I am seriously thinking about going to this place, As I am around 80ish miles away from the training grounds I am debating travelling and doing my course in the afternoon as the guy said they can accommodate afternoons starting at 2pm till 6pm then drive home once ive finished. ( Good practice for the real driving career right? :wink: )

I could opt for staying at a B and B but after Im done for the day I think I’ll go stir crazy with nothing to do. :stuck_out_tongue:

For my local area I did put a post up before reading this thread about J Coates asking if they was any good… I can tell why so many people newbies get stressed out when finding a place to train at and many give in , its either brokers trying to screw you over or dodgy training firms trying to do the same and give you grief as well. £1000+ is a ton of money to loose if you choose the wrong place. :frowning: