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Most of us use the internet for shopping these days, but it’s certainly better for buying some things than it is others.
Take shoes for example. Let’s say you had a choice of going around the shoe shops in town or buying a pair on the internet, which way would you choose? And, just to make the decision easier which would you choose if all you could see on the internet was the shoebox, and not the shoes themselves. Would you really make a purchase on the basis of how good the box looked?
Sadly, when it comes to driver training it appears all too many people choose to buy on the basis of a picture of the box!
Let me explain. There are companies on the internet who claim to offer ‘nationwide training’ for would-be lorry drivers. For just one lump sum, they will arrange your medical, your lessons, your practical and theory tests, and then find you a job afterwards. And, hey, if you don’t have the lump sum to hand, don’t worry they’ll lend it to you!
Too good to be true?
The truth of the matter is that most of the companies behind those websites are not driving schools at all. Most do not own any vehicles, or employ any instructors. They are actually finance and marketing companies whose main business is selling expensive credit to you, which you then pay back to them so they can arrange training for you with a local driving school. Training which you could just as easily have arranged yourself at a lower cost, and with the ability to choose a school for yourself, rather than going where you are sent. And any reputable driving school should be able to help you with arranging medicals and booking tests. As for finance, it’s probably best to start by asking at the bank: they specialise in lending money rather than teaching people how to drive lorries!
The last claim made by these brokers, that they can find you a job, is probably the one that should be treated with most caution. One I contacted assured me that if I passed my test with them, they could get me a job with a well-known haulier that had a depot in my town. Which was nice, except I know that the depot was closed years ago and the drivers were made redundant.
If you do want to use the internet to help you find a genuine local driving school then one website: www.nolgvbrokers.co.uk; is as good a place as any to start. You can enter your postcode to find details of independent, trainers using only Driving Standards Agency approved instructors, running well-maintained vehicles near you, contact them via a link, and pick up some useful information about choosing a suitable trainer and working as a truck driver. These local schools will also be able to advise you which local employers are prepared to consider recruiting newly-qualified drivers, too.
A word of warning. Many training brokers advertise widely in the national press and have impressive websites. This is where most of the money you pay them goes. They are interested in getting as much out of you as they can and giving as little back as they can get away with. There are even some who want everything up front, and then won’t refund a penny if you fail the medical.
If that’s not bad enough some seem to go out of business on a regular basis: leaving hapless would-be drivers paying off large loans at extortionate rates for training they are never going to get. A bit like buying an empty shoebox, really.