UK

Defence School Of Transport: Training The Next Generation Of Military Drivers

Thousands of personnel from across the UK Armed Forces come to the centre to learn driving skills every year.

Forces News has been given special access to the Defence School of Transport - the largest residential driving school in the world.

Every year, 10,000 students from all three military services pass out through the school in East Yorkshire.

Students learn how to drive a range of vehicles - starting on the 'white fleet', which includes ordinary cars and coaches, before moving onto the 'green fleet' made up of military vehicles.

Private Kendrick Francois, from Grenada in the Caribbean, has been training at the school for seven months and is about to graduate.

He told Forces News he had to initally get to grips with the different roads and signs.

"You don’t have all the signs and stuff back home so it was a bit challenging for me at first but thanks to the instructor and them who have helped, they have me put me on the right road," he said.

Over the course of the year, students at the school clock up 5 million miles worth of training on roads around the county. 

Major Allister Holmes, Officer Commanding, Military Driver Training Squadron, said the instructors need "patience" as "different students learn at different speeds".

"It's understanding the individual student... and adjusting your method of training, your delivery, to suit that student so we can get them through," he said.

"After a week, the instructors and students generally develop a good bond, a working relationship, where they can get through the training - that's key."

Students at the Defence School of Transport start training on 'white fleet' vehicles, such as cars, before moving onto the 'green fleet', consisting of military vehicles.

Training is also conducted on the 768 acres of roads and tracks onsite.

Colonel Chris Henson, Commandant at the Defence School of Transport, described it as a "hidden gem".

"As a resource, this place is unparalleled," he said.

"The quality of the real estate, the cross country tracks, the equipments and the range of equipments that we use, so I think those things are things I’m really proud of."

Whilst other military training was disrupted by COVID-19, the Defence School of Transport continued to train personnel by introducing socially distanced vehicle cabs, reducing the number of students and increasing ventilation.

The centre is currently on the look out for new instructors to train the next generation of military drivers.

Those interested in joining the instructing team must hold a category C licence.