As part of their continuing support for Transaid. Bibby Distribution recently played host to two driving trainers from Zambia.

This was part of a skills transfer programme aimed at improving road transport safety standards in the African nation.

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The visit formed part of a two-week trip organised by international development charity, Transaid. A reverse scheme in April 2009 saw representatives from Bibby Distribution spend two weeks in Zambia conducting training on vehicle and pedestrian safety.

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Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Trainer of Bibby Distribution – also one of the Bibby representatives involved in the excursion in 2009 – told Tachoblog, “This was a unique opportunity for us to share experiences with colleagues in the African transport industry and work together to improve standards.

“We offered them practical training that could be easily adapted into their own operations when they returned home.”

The one-day training session covered best practice in manual handling and vehicle maintenance and allowed the visitors to gain hands-on experience in a live working environment in the UK.

“What most people don’t realise is that road deaths are the third biggest premature killer in sub-Saharan Africa, after HIV and malaria. In part this is due to the inadequacy of vehicles, but also the distinct lack of quality training.

“I was shocked during my trip to Zambia to see people with no driving experience at all get behind the wheel of 16 tonne vehicles.”

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Transaid is a transport industry organisation which focuses on the use and management of transport to improve people’s lives throughout Africa. The charity has been supported by Bibby Distribution for more than 10 years and HRH The Princess Royal is also heavily involved in its work as patron.

Speaking to Tachoblog, Chris Saunders, Chief Executive of Transaid said, “This kind of visit allows African driving trainers to learn from the best in the business – and there is no better way to learn than to experience things first-hand.

“What is achieved in terms of vehicle and driver safety in the UK is also entirely achievable in more deprived parts of the world – albeit more of a challenge.

“We hope that with the support of organisations like Bibby, we can share transferable skills that not just benefit our colleagues in Zambia, but improve safety standards in the transport sector, and across communities, worldwide.”

To find out more about Transaid’s work visit their website.