Oldham Council is one of the first local authorities in the region to make it mandatory for private hire and hackney carriage drivers to hold a Road Passenger Transport qualification.
The council’s Licensing Committee recently approved a report which will ensure that all Oldham’s 1,300 licensed drivers attain an NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Transport.
The course aims to equip all drivers with the relevant skills and abilities they need in order to perform their job to the best of their ability.
The training will focus around improving knowledge of health and safety, professional driving, customer service, providing assistance, transporting children, and the vulnerable, and licensing.
Some drivers may already have gained the qualification but this new policy makes it mandatory for all drivers to hold it.
Councillor Norman Briggs, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “Our licensed drivers are some of our biggest ambassadors for Oldham.
“They represent the borough and are often a first contact with somebody visiting the town.
“We are one of the first council’s in the region to mandate this and we look forward to having a fully qualified and competent fleet of drivers supporting our residents and visitors”.
Abdul Khayal, Chair of the Oldham Hackney Association, said: “We as an Association welcome the opportunity to engage and further develop our skills for the benefit of raising standards and promoting public confidence. We work well with the Council in developing policies and I look forward to seeing drivers taking part”.
Funding has been sourced through Wigan and Leigh College with the training being delivered by Unite the Union. This means there is no cost to either the council or the driver.