From education to employment

Ruskin Private Hire launches 43ft mobile training vehicle

The learning arm of accessible transport specialists Ruskin Private Hire, Robust Training, has signalled an innovative investment programme to deliver high quality training.

The south London-based organisation has turned a 43ft luxury coach into a state-of-the-art mobile training centre for more than £300,000. Under the name Robustraina, the vehicle is able to accommodate up to 20 learners, each being equipped with their own workplace.

Roger Lynch, chief executive of Ruskin and Robust, said: "It is quite unlike anything that has been produced before, and evolved over the last nine months as we added more unique features to my basic drawings, either in what is included or the combination in which they work."

Using their individually assigned keyboards and computers, students are linked by a satellite telecoms system with remote assessors and qualification-awarding bodies such as EDI.

Mr Lynch has ordered a fleet of six similar vehicles to meet the likely demand from training organisations and employers for a centre that is able to come to the client. He is also currently planning similar vehicles that will journey into estates and localities to work with young people in their communities.

Ruskin Private Hire holds contracts with 20 local authorities or NHS trusts, and has achieved the industry accolade as Accessible Transport Operator of the year. It has been commended for developing a culture and belief in training its people, at its own expense.

Mr Lynch continued: "Although some firms offered to train them, they failed to meet the high standards we insist on.

"So we decided to become a training provider in our own right, investing some £1.5 million in premises, materials, methods, instructors, equipment and the bus to ensure that our learners really acquire knowledge that improves their skills."

Robust Training, which is able to train more than 60 people at one time at its centre in Walworth, South London, is accredited by such bodies as the Learning & Skills Council, Go-skills, EDI, City & Guilds and Edexcel.

Mr Lynch added: "It has been quite a fight to win our way here in less than a year.

"Training is a fiercely competitive business and there are many obstacles to overcome to gain acceptance. As in our passenger transport business, our strategy is based on setting demanding standards and achieving quality levels far higher than those of our competitors.

"We are already attracting interest and bookings from such organisations as the Job Centre Plus network, and employers in the public, private and charity sectors."

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