Major survey of training standards announced

Alpha Parking will launch a major national training survey among local authorities and their contractors at next months Parkex event.
The consultant is examining what training is being offered to parking professionals and whether they consider it to be of sufficient quality.

In March 2008, publication of Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) put recruitment and training of frontline parking professionals under the spotlight. The Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement published alongside the TMA suggests the City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Civil Enforcement Officers (Parking) as the minimum qualification, along with training to equip CEOs with the interpersonal, conflict resolution and oral communication skills they need to perform their jobs effectively and without undue stress or personal danger. The same document stresses the importance of good-quality, well-trained back office and management staff to provide a fair and effective CPE regime.

A year on, there are promising signs that at last local authorities are taking the guidance to heart and making more significant investments in staff recruitment, training and retention, but no large scale scientific study of skills and training has been undertaken since the British Parking Associations UK Parking Workforce Survey of February 2006.

With this in mind, Alpha Parking will begin its nationwide survey shortly and aims to produce an annual report on training and qualifications within the parking industry. The study will provide an extensive picture of the perceptions, aspirations and attitudes of employees and management over the range of disciplines/activities within the sector.

Senior management, parking managers and supervisors, civil enforcement officers and back office staff at councils and the private sector throughout England and Wales are invited to participate in the study online by logging onto or visiting the Alpha Parking stand P114 at Parkex 21-23 April.

The self-completion questionnaire will be supplemented by face-to-face interviews between an independent researcher and parking sector professionals in a variety of roles to collect more detail about experiences and views.

Project Management

Independent consultant Roy Jones is managing the project. As a senior manager at South Staffordshire Water plc, he was responsible for implementing the New Roads and Street Works Act at both company and national levels. This process involved developing a new approach to training within the whole industry as specific accreditation was required to comply with the legislation.

There are clear similarities between the water and parking industries. I believe that the parking sector needs to prioritise training and development to become even more professional, says Roy Jones.

The 2006 survey was designed to assess the current skills of the parking workforce and available qualifications. Following a period of extensive consultation the BPA, in collaboration with the Sector Skills Development Agency (now the UK Commission for Employment and Skills), unveiled the UK Parking Sector Skills Strategy in March 2007, to identify skills shortages and suggest further qualifications.

The new study builds on this work and introduces some more detailed areas, designed to maximise information about training across the industry and identify attitudes to training issues as well as gaps in provision. adds Roy Jones.

Within the parking industry as a whole, training has become a much more important issue, adds Alpha Parking Director, Penny Winder. By repeating the survey annually, we hope this will help the industry develop further strategies to improve professionalism and enhance its public image.

Parking professionals can participate in the study until 22 May. Analysis is expected to be complete by the summer and the results will be published in industry magazines.
Alpha Parking Ltd.
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