Testimonials - Case Studies

Bath and North East Somerset

Somax were selected to deliver training to over 300 of our staff in areas ranging from light vans, minibuses, medium size coaches through to Heavy Goods Vehicles over a six month period.

The training has been well organised between Somax and our training department meaning the least possible disruption to working patterns and day to day activities. Each learner had completed all elements with three months. The training delivery team have been excellent and our staff have given excellent feedback about the training they received.

The impact so far has been massive. We have seen a noticeable reduction in fuel consumption which has resulted in cost savings for us as well as a raised awareness of safe driving techniques. Feedback from staff that have completed the training indicate they will take this outside of the workplace which will have an impact on one of this Authority’s major aims of reducing carbon output.

We will be continuing to put our staff through the training programme this year as it has been a very valuable exercise both in terms of upskilling the staff, saving money and meeting the aims of Bath and North East Somerset Authority.

Mr Fred Day, Bath and North East Somerset Council Service Team Manager
Weston College

Weston College is at the forefront of training in terms of delivering Work Based Learning (WBL) training for employers. Train to Gain saw a phenomenal 152% growth in the number of employers engaged in training during 08/09. Success rates have also soared to 92% - this represents 57% of the South West’s successful provision 08/09. Noticeably, the partnership work developed in the logistics sector has been outstanding and forms the basis of a Weston/Somax cameo for outstanding achievement.

Somax Ltd was founded in 2003 by Simon Werkshagen following a career in the logistics sector. His business involved training drivers to be licensed to drive heavy good vehicles.

Weston College and Somax Driver Training Ltd held discussions during 2007 to develop a model that complied with Leitch targets for Full Level 2 qualifications which would also encompass the legislation associated with heavy goods and passenger carrying vehicles. This was an ideal opportunity to bring together the skills and experience from both partners; Somax had the expertise in logistics, Weston College had the expertise in WBL/NVQs and quality assurance (QA) processes. The vision was a one stop shop to support this sector in terms of employer related training.

Since conception the partnership has trained over 1600 learners with outstanding results - a track record of 99.8% success. Somax are responsible for sourcing the learners and delivering the training and Weston College concentrate on QA, funding and support on delivery & design.
Somax’s business growth has rose to 75% in 3 years - now respected as a leading trainer in this field. Weston College benefitted by penetrating a new market, which achieved excellent success rates. We work closely with each other – a strong knowledge sharing ethos, and hold regular quality assurance meetings to evaluate and action plan any changes to improve curriculum delivery.

Liz Redwood, Head of Business Enterprise Centre
May Gurney

May Gurney delivers essential services for customers across the UK, making sure that the road, utility, rail and waterways networks and public buildings are well maintained and that household waste is collected, managed and recycled. All this activity means that there is a regular requirement for employees to drive as part of their job. May Gurney is committed to the safety of its employees so during 2010 we had been looking at ways of providing driver competence training for all employees on the road.

We first met Simon Werkshargen from SOMAX after he presented at an event in Bristol, and organised a further discussion to see whether there were benefits to a partnership to deliver Driver CPC. At this time our options still included setting up an in-house training centre.

We were impressed by the quality of the organisation and the can-do attitude. There was clearly a level of expertise and specialism in SOMAX which we would be hard-pressed to duplicate in the short term with an in-house centre. We were also convinced by the benefits of SOMAX’s mature relationship with Weston College, and this bore fruit in November 2010 with an offer of funding towards a training programme, which lead to the present partnership.

The programme which SOMAX is delivering to our drivers is based around a Driver NVQ level 2. The content of the course has been adapted to include aspects from within our own management system, and therefore it bears the greatest relevance to our drivers. We also liked the fact that the course includes only one day in-class, against two in-vehicle, which suits the needs of most of our drivers. From the point of view of our employees, they all signed up to attend the one day classroom session on a Saturday in their own time, and we made available the work time and equipment for days 2 and 3.

We see significant benefits coming with the training to enhance safety compliance and environmental sustainability. On the safety front the in-class day revises essential procedures from the point of view of ‘O’ licence and general health and safety, which are then reinforced within practical elements on days 2 and 3 of the course. Sustainability benefits particularly from day 2 of the course, the Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED) day. With the rising cost of fuel, this is a real no-brainer, with the training records regularly demonstrating that drivers can save between 10 – 15% of fuel by adopting the right techniques, and this also has a massive potential saving in our operational costs.

he course materials are well thought through, with a durable ring-bound portfolio folder produced for each candidate, which helps them through the assessment process. After the initial introductions, SOMAX have forged good working relationships with managers at each of our 9 depots participating in this programme, which has certainly helped me as the central point of contact for the contract.

Any training programme on this scale will always have some hiccups! In the overall scheme of things, these have been very low, given that we signed up over 280 drivers. We had two drivers who have behaved inappropriately during a classroom session, and it bears testament to the value of the training that these two were effectively marginalised by the peer group on their course, leaving at the first interval without encouragement, and being dealt with later on return to work.

Our present programme runs until July 2011, and as the tone of my commentary would suggest, it has gone very smoothly thus far, leaving us extremely pleased with the partnership.

Richard Murray – SHEA Manager