A pioneering ‘Earn and you Learn’ scheme, introduced by Rochford’s licencing team, has successfully increased the number of registered taxi and private hire drivers operating in the district.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole of the UK saw a decline in the number of drivers working in the sector. Rochford District Council worked with the main four operators in its district to develop a scheme encouraging new drivers into the business while still ensuring safety for all passengers.
Under the traditional route into the profession, new drivers had to undergo a lengthy training process and pass the knowledge test before they were issued with a Hackney Carriage Drivers Badge.
Under the ‘Earn as you Learn’ scheme new drivers can operate as a hire driver while they complete their course. Each driver is assigned a mentor and closely monitored throughout the training process.
Drivers have nine months to complete this process. Failure to pass within this time period will result in their badge expiring.
As of the start of December 2022, 27 drivers are enrolled on the Earn as You Learn with five drivers already successfully completing the course with many more drivers going through the application process.
Cllr Arthur Williams, Portfolio Holder for Communities & Health, said: “We need to have more taxi drivers trained and working to help our isolated and disabled residents and ensure people can get home safely late at night, so the ‘Earn to Learn Scheme’ is vital in districts like ours.
“It’s great to hear this scheme helping drivers get the necessary training but also earning a wage they need while studying, especially in the current cost-of-living crisis.”