22nd March 2022
For the Immediate Attention of All:
Postal Branches Divisional Representatives
Parcelforce Regional Organisers Area Distribution Representatives LGV Representatives
DRIVER CAREER PATH – ALLOCATION OF TRAINING PLACES AND APPLICATION PROCESS
Further to enquiries received in the department, we are writing to clarify the selection criteria for the allocation of training places related to the Driver Academy – Career Path activity, the E-Learning aspects of the training course and address communications on eligibility released by Royal Mail late last week.
Branches will recall that the Driver Academy Approach – Driver Career Path Training initiative was launched in December 2021, LTB 527/21 issued on 6th December 2021 refers. The application process opened on that date and closed on 3rd January 2022.
That application process attracted a huge response from our members across Royal Mail Group with an initial application of over 7000 for 500 training places. Even after filtering out managerial applicants and those not meeting the criteria, over 6000 applicants remained for the available places.
At the time of the launch the selection criteria, based on the current National resourcing agreement for Professional Drivers, was published as part of the application literature and included in LTB 527/21.
Selection Process Criteria:
No current record on an individual’s licence of dangerous driving or drink or drug related driving
Less than 6 points on driving
Good conduct in accordance with Royal Mail Group (Serious Conduct and above will require review before selection is made).
Tie Break. Where two or more individuals are considered suitable for a lesser number of vacancies we will revert to Resourcing Area (see below) and Length of Service in line with the Way Forward Agreement.
A reasonable travel distance of the resourcing unit; reasonable is normally considered to be within one hour.
Outside the resourcing area other National people from anywhere in
Requests for transfer by individuals with special circumstances will be considered jointly and prioritised on a case by case basis.
Branches will recognise that for some time Royal Mail has had an issue with the age demographic of MGV and LGV Professional Drivers, the average age in both categories now being in the mid-fifties age range. Following the closure of the application process Royal Mail raised concerns with the Union that the current selection criteria was likely to exacerbate the age demographic issue.
Due to the huge over subscription for places and the age demographic of the applicants the use of length of service (seniority) as the tie break would result in an outcome which very heavily favoured older applicants.
As an example, in the category of Car to MGV, 51% of total applicants were under the age of 40, however using current criteria only 1.2% of those applicants would be selected. 98.8% of the available places would be allocated to the 49% of candidates aged 40 or over, with 45% of places allocated to those 50 or over. Similar results were seen in the MGV to LGV category with 100% of places allocated to those over 40 and 63% to those applicants over 50 years of age.
These outcomes would in fact raise the average age demographic, which in Royal Mail is already significantly older than in the wider UK industry. According to the Office for National Statistics in the UK Industry the average age of LGV Drivers is split almost 50/50 above and below 50 years of age, whilst in Royal Mail over 71% of Professional Drivers are over 50.
The proposed response from Royal Mail as a condition of progressing the training was to remove length of service from the selection criteria and move to a subjective interview approach, which the department rejected. In our view seniority is not the problem and it remains the sole, wholly objective filter available to us, which does not introduce managerial preference into the selection process. The CWU was therefore in a position where this impasse, which has delayed the allocation of places, was in fact threatening the progression of the training program.
The priority for the CWU has therefore been to ensure that this crucial training package proceeds and delivers the opportunity for our members to progress to Professional Driver Roles, while protecting the terms of current National agreements.
Discussions with the business have therefore now concluded in the introduction of an additional selection criteria introducing an age banding approach. This approach, which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive, is an exceptional measure applicable to Driver Career Path only that aligns the number of training places offered in each group based on the number of applications received in that age band.
The table below denotes the number of training places allocated in each age band. By aligning places against application percentages in each category the process will start to redress the age demographic time bomb Royal Mail faces.
Within the Age Bands, training places will be allocated in line with agreed criteria with Resourcing Area and length of Service (Seniority) retained as the tie break criteria. No age groups are excluded and training places will be offered in every age band from which applications were received.
The exceptional measure Age Band Criteria is only applicable to the training places associated to the Driver Career Path Process and agreed resourcing arrangements for Professional Driver Roles remain in place and are unaltered by the change.
The size of the response means that there is no way to accommodate every applicant in this process. With 6000 applicants for 500 places, whatever selection process was adopted, only 1 in 12 applicants can be successfully selected. As such the number of disappointed candidates will outnumber those selected with regard to this first tranche of training places.
To meet the demand and appetite for progression the department will be seeking to maximise the number of training places in future Driver Career Path tranches.
The decision to add an Age Band Criteria was necessary to ensure that the agreed training program commenced as promised to provide opportunities to our members and to start to stabilise and future proof the internal Professional Driver Resourcing base.
Driver Academy Eligibility C1 License Holders
The department also received enquiries surrounding training eligibility. The department were made aware that members who had been advised that they were successful candidates in the Driver Academy Career Path for MGV to LGV training and who held a C1 Licence or entitlement, had subsequently been contacted by Royal Mail and informed that they were ineligible and that their offer of training had been rescinded.
The department immediately raised the matter with Royal Mail, as it appeared that the business had effectively excluded the majority of MGV Drivers from the MGV to LGV program. Royal Mail have apologised and confirmed this was a clerical error and that the offers of training will be re-issued to the successful candidates as soon as possible.
Driver Academy Training
Unlike previous Career Path Initiatives Royal Mail, through the external training provider Systems Group has sought to secure Government funding for the Driver Training Program. To do so the course has to include additional on line learning elements, including Theory and Driver CPC elements, in addition to the in cab training. Release will be provided for candidates to fully participate in these activities although candidates may be required to do an element of online study within their own time.
The department understands that the e-learning activities will be scheduled events and as such we have raised the issue of release for Night Shift employees. Royal Mail have confirmed that where the scheduling of e-learning sessions would preclude night workers having sufficient rest then two-night release can be allowed. Discussions on this should be progressed locally once the schedule is known.
The in cab driver training is condensed into the final weeks of the programme, therefore there should not be any e-learning required once this starts. The Driver Training is one full week so the release for this part is continuous.
Below is the training programme for both Car to MGV and MGV to LGV:
CAR TO MGV
Scheduled online course time over the first 7 weeks is 35 hours and a further 20 hours is scheduled in for the Theory Training self-study on mock tests.
MGV TO LGV
Online time is scheduled to be very little as many of the participants will have driving experience already so they will be very familiar with many of the areas that will be covered. For those with less experience the actual course content is 20 hours over the first 4 weeks so this leaves approximately 2 hours per week to complete any self-study that is required.
There is also an element of online tests at the commencement of training and the business has confirmed there is no pass/fail outcome from these tests. The results are designed to give the training provider an indication of the level people are working towards for their English and Maths to facilitate the Theory elements of the course.
The department would request that the contents of this LTB are brought to the attention of our members across Royal Mail Group.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference: 216.01.