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It’s all clear now on the buses…


A Training Officer working for a bus company has been praised by the Plain English Campaign for helping to unravel some of the jargon found in company training materials.

In fact, Guy Gibson, who works for Trent Buses in Derbyshire, decided to re-write the content of the NVQ standards for the Level 2 'transporting passengers by road' qualification being undertaken by staff, after finding uptake of the scheme was suffering because candidates and assessors were struggling with the terms being used.

Here are some of the more wordy statements and their replacements:

  • Instead of asking drivers to ensure 'duty commencement information is confirmed', they're now asked to 'find out what shift you're on and what bus you've got.'

  • If the bus became full, drivers had been told that 'where passengers cannot be accepted because of potential overload of the vehicle they are informed positively of the situation and, where possible, informed as to how to complete their journey as offered.' They're now advised: 'You give a polite refusal with alternatives - time of the next bus, other services or modes of travel.'

  • Instead of checking that "environmental and comfort systems are adjusted to meet changing conditions", they will be advised to "switch on the heater when it is cold and off when it is hot".

Clearly Guy's revision has helped to clarify things. He told TrainingZONE: 'There are nearly 200 performance criteria for this particular NVQ, and around 50 drivers took the previous qualification before the standards were revised. The new qualification is portfolio-based, which was a problem in itself, but we found the numbers wanting to take the qualification dropped off completely.' However, Trent Buses now has the highest proportion of NVQ-qualified drivers in the East Midlans. Having taken on the project to revise the wording of the standards off his own initiative, other bus companies have begun using Guy's wording and the new documentation is now being made available through awarding body Transfed.

Chrissie Maher, of the Plain English Campaign, said: "We often joke about plain English being the language of the man on the Clapham omnibus. We never realised that man was the driver."


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