Arriva Southern Counties launches technician training bus 18 February 2010

Arriva Southern Counties has launched a bespoke technician training bus, designed to revolutionise its approach by taking training to depots, rather than getting fitters to attend residential courses.

Says engineering director Tony Ward: "It took six months form concept to the finished vehicle, but the result is we've trained more technicians in the last six weeks, since we got the vehicle, than we had in the previous three years."

Currently, the roving classroom is, providing in-depth courses on braking systems' operation and maintenance to engineering staff at its 10 depots throughout Kent, Medway, Essex and Surrey.

Next, Ward and his team intend to extend tuition to cover electrical systems and ABS, followed by health and safety updates.

Arriva Group engineering training manager Lloyd Mason explains that training panels inside the vehicle can be swapped out to provide teaching for all subjects identified as key to operations – and at all levels, from apprentices to mature technicians needing updates and refresher courses.

"We now issue all technicians with a training passbook that provides a complete record of the training undertaken and resulting work at their depots, signed off by their local engineering manager," explains Mason.

He indicates this will now form the basis of Arriva's route to ensuring continuous professional development for technicians. And he adds that the new bus will also be used to update staff as technological advances demand new inspection and maintenance techniques.

As for the bus itself, it's based on a retired East Lancs EL2000-bodied Dennis Dart. The conversion was carried out by Arriva's own engineering staff, supported by suppliers Autoglym, Esteban Seating, Hanover Displays, Hants & Dorset Trim, Imperial Engineering, Knorr Bremse, PSV Transport Systems, PSV Glass and The Bus Doctor.

Inside, there are facilities for six trainees, with comprehensive interchangeable system component panels that allow practical and theoretical training to be combined.

Arriva Southern Counties runs seven minibuses, 400 midibuses, 79 full size single-deckers, 139 double-deckers and 17 coaches.

Brian Tinham

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Arriva Southern Counties Ltd

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