Malcolm Kidd, an LGV driving instructor and assessor for Gateshead-based logistics training specialist Van Hee has returned from a three week secondment with Transaid in Nigeria where he has been training six new driver trainers.
The trip marked the first joint overseas project between Van Hee and Transaid, which contacted the charity after reading previous accounts of Transaid supporters sending skilled staff to Africa.
The initiative saw Malcolm, 49, working in Yobe State, northern Nigeria – one of four states in the region where Transaid is helping the Ministry of Health to improve immunisation coverage and access to healthcare for women and young children. Key to achieving this is Transaid’s effort to improve the way the Ministry runs and manages its transport.
Speaking on his return, Malcolm said: "My trip coincided with the arrival of 35 new ambulances and I spent much of my time helping to train a group of six ambulance driver trainers. They were incredibly eager to learn and very receptive to the training programme – as a result, they have already trained their first 20 drivers."
"Research two years ago estimated that there is only one health service vehicle per 100,000 people in the region, which suffers from high child and maternal mortality rates. If the training we have delivered proves successful in improving vehicle utilisation and safety across the fleet then we will have helped to save lives."
Chris Saunders, Chief Executive of Transaid adds: "Van Hee’s assistance in Nigeria will enable the health service to utilise their vehicles much more efficiently and safely, which will in turn improve access to healthcare. It’s a great example of how Transaid can help to share the extensive knowledge and experience held within the UK transport and logistics industry with countries across Africa."
The training involved a mixture of theoretical and practical teaching techniques to support the role out of a much wider five year training programme, which is seeing Transaid working as part of a consortium of companies on behalf of Health Partners International.
Malcolm’s visit to Nigeria was not his first experience in Africa. In 1978 he spent six months in Kenya as part of his 14 years of army service where he drove 65-tonne trucks transporting plant and equipment.
Van Hee is one of the largest providers of logistics training in the UK. For 40 years it has trained at all levels including forklift truck drivers, commercial transport operatives, warehousemen and supervisors, currently training around 3,000 people annually.