Industry focus on Mark Taylor

The logistics industry is full of highly skilled professionals right across the board. Companies need people with specialist knowledge and expertise to get goods to where they need to go as efficiently and safely as possible.

This means high-quality training is vital, and it’s why training is one of the key services we offer our members and others in the industry.

I’m the RHA’s Head of Training and Sales in England and Wales and it’s my job to make sure we are delivering the very best training for logistics professionals. Haulage firms and their staff are held to the highest standards by the authorities so we continue to develop the most up-to-date learning to help them stay safe and compliant.

Who do we train and what do we train them to do?

We offer different types of training – some of which haulage professionals are legally obliged to take, and other courses which are about ongoing development.

A training package called ‘Transport Manager CPC’ (CPC being ‘Certificate of Professional Competence’) is one of our flagship courses. Transport managers play a pivotal role in a haulage company because they’re responsible for making sure that lorries are roadworthy and drivers are operating safely. They’re the people who will answer to the authorities if something goes wrong so they go through a rigorous training programme and pass an exam before they can do the job. After five years they must do a refresher course.

Similarly we offer courses for lorry drivers who must complete 35 hours of ‘CPC’ every five years to continue driving trucks.

We also run courses on keeping vehicles safe, moving dangerous goods and mental health first aider training.

How I got into training

My journey’s been quite varied – in fact my background is in sales. I worked in telecoms for the likes of Siemens and BT, and it was at BT where I was introduced to the logistics sector working with clients such as TNT and DHL. I went on to work in a sales role in ‘telematics’ which is the technology hauliers use to make sure their vehicles are operating safely and efficiently (think: vehicle tracking, route planning, mechanical warning systems, etc.) Here I got to know more about the breadth and depth of the haulage sector, but then in 2008 the financial crash hit and I found myself looking for a new challenge.

Having spent so much time around trucks I decided to get my Class 1 licence (LGV C+E) and I worked freelance for agencies and then for a number of major firms which gave me the opportunity to experience lots of different types of work. I was always keen on mentoring colleagues which took me down the learning and development path where I took on training roles at haulage firms. I went on to set up a driver academy where we put new people in the industry through a variety of programmes including apprenticeships.

Working for the RHA

Then a couple of years ago I got this role at the RHA and I’ve been able to build on the great foundations we already had by opening up new training venues and expanding the breadth of training we offer. Of course, COVID-19 has posed us a massive challenge as we had to close our venues during lockdown. But in tandem with my colleague Brian Kenny who runs our training and sales in Scotland and Northern Ireland we very quickly shifted classroom-based courses online so people could continue learning virtually uninterrupted.

This is the very least they expected from us; logistics is all about problem solving and adapting what you do to turn a challenge into an advantage. And that’s why it’s such a rewarding industry to work in.