Getting a CPC is one thing and keeping it is another. This guide shows you how to do both – read on.
1) Verify That You Actually Need A Driver CPC
Before making any binding decisions, your first step is to confirm that a Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) qualification is actually something you need. While the basic requirements are relatively simple, the many exemptions available can complicate the picture significantly.
The overall principle that guides Driver CPC is that you need the certificate if driving a lorry, coach, or bus is your main job responsibility according to Blacks Training Solutions. The many exemptions to that basic rule cover a lot of territory; look at the list below to make sure that none of these situations match your own:
Driver CPC Exemptions
- A) You are driving a vehicle in order to move equipment or material for your work – your primary job is not the driving itself.
- B) You are driving a passenger-carrying vehicle for non-commercial purposes. For example, if your extended family is going on holiday together and you rent a bus to drive them, you do not need a Driver CPC.
- C) The vehicle you are driving has a maximum speed of 45 km/h or less.
- D) The vehicle you are driving is owned or operated by civil service, i.e., armed forces, fire services, civil defense, law enforcement, etc.
- E) You are driving a vehicle for road testing purposes – either helping to develop the vehicle or performing maintenance on it.
- F) You are driving the vehicle under emergency conditions. If you are using a lorry to transport sandbags for flood preparation, for instance, a Driver CPC is not required.
- G) You are driving the vehicle as part of a training program intended to prepare you for obtaining a driver’s license, CPC, or other qualification.
- H) You are driving the vehicle as part of your job, so long as you are not transporting goods or passengers or driving more than 100km from your place of employment.
- These exemptions open up a wide range of gray areas. If you are not absolutely certain about whether or not an exemption covers your activity, you should seek informed legal advice on the subject. Just bear in mind, a week-long CPC course like those provided by Backline is often cheaper to obtain than legal advice!
2) Keep The New Driver Rules In Mind
The process that earns you a CPC qualification suitable for full-time employment as a driver involves passing multiple tests.
You will first need to pass a theoretical and practical test to obtain your driving license. Then, you earn your initial Driver CPC qualification by passing a computer-based test and another short practical test.
To keep your qualification, you must take periodic training to maintain it. You might be eligible to move directly into periodic training if you passed your initial tests at the right time.
3) Complying With Periodic Training Requirements
Professional drivers need to take periodic training in order to keep their skills sharp. Any sort of professional knowledge fades over time; repeated training helps counteract this natural fading process.
A Driver CPC needs to be maintained by taking 35 hours of structured training. The time period for this training is five years long.
The training can be completed according to your own schedule. It can be spread out evenly over the five years, taken at the beginning, or even completed at the end. So long as you get the proper training within the five years, your CPC qualification will be maintained.
If you let five years elapse without taking the necessary 35 hours of training, your qualification will be suspended until you get the training. This can be a serious problem if driving is your core professional skill!
4) Understand The Training Course Requirements
To earn a Driver CPC, you need to go to the training course with at least one of these forms of identification:
* Driving license
* Digital tachograph card
* Driver CPC card
Once you’ve completed the course, you will receive a certificate of attendance. This should be preserved like any important document; it is a permanent record of your training activity.
CPC training hours will only apply to your driving record if your training center uploads them within five days of the end of your training. Register online at the appropriate gov.uk website to review your record and confirm that everything has been uploaded properly.
5) Your Driver CPC Card
After you have completed your training, your Driver CPC card (also commonly called a Driver Qualification Card, or DQC) will be mailed to the address appearing on your driver’s license. The CPC card will use the same signature and photo that appear on your driver’s license.
Your Driver CPC card must always be on your person when you are driving professionally.
The sole exception to this rule is if you have recently completed your training and your card has not yet been delivered. Even in this situation, your hours need to have been uploaded by your training center.
If you are stopped while driving professionally and you cannot produce your Driver CPC card, you are subject to an immediate £50 fine.
If 20 days pass after the end of your training course and you do not receive your card, contact the DVSA. The most convenient way is with this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) Stay On Top Of Your Training Deadline
If you let your training deadline elapse without completing your 35 hours, you are not allowed to drive professionally. This is enough of a problem that you need to plan ahead and schedule your training well in advance.
Keep in mind that missing your deadline is not a complete tragedy. You can return to your driving duties as soon as you make up your deficit of training hours.
Note that any CPC training hours you complete but do not use will expire after five years. You can check past training modules to see whether or not they are still valid at gov.uk.
7) Handle Foreign Training Carefully
For the time being, drivers holding a UK driving license can complete some of their CPC training in other parts of the EU. Be aware that foreign training programs will not update your record automatically. You will need to act on your own to get the records to the DVSA and confirm that you’ve completed the training you need.