Ashok Leyland's continued thrust on
More training institutes coming up
Ashok Leyland is known for its special initiatives with regard to driver training and development. Established in 1995, the Company's driver training institute (DTI) at Namakkal, the first of its kind, has served as a benchmark in driver training ever since. The Company focus is on three main aspects: inducting fresh drivers, inculcating a culture of road safety and imparting knowledge about fuel-efficient methods of driving.
E N Surendran, Senior Manager, Driver Training, oversees the various operations at the Institute. He made his first drive at the age of 12 and has 31 years of driving experience. Having mastered the art of traversing the path of the number '8', that too in reverse, he can certainly be considered a perfect fit for being at the helm.
The sophisticated driving simulator at DTI for simulation training
Spread over 25 acres of land, DTI has 12 trainers who have taken up the task of transforming the drivers through courses of varying duration and syllabi. In fact, some of the current trainers had originally come to the Institute as trainees and subsequently opted to stay on and dedicate their lives for driver training. The Institute has the complete backing of the Company's Managing Director, Vinod K Dasari, who is keen on making the Institute more contemporary with the use of simulators and advanced technology for training.
DTI has a spacious building that accommodates five large classrooms, a library, a model room, a laboratory, a conference room and an open-air theatre. Recently, a new sophisticated driving simulator worth 1 crore was installed to aid simulation training.
The test vehicles are available in multiple configurations to provide a comprehensive training routine for trainees. Some of the different configurations include 12 metre bus, 20 feet tractor-trailer, 40 feet tractor-trailer, multi-axle vehicle and vehicles fitted with front engine, rear engine, manual steering, power steering, constant mesh gearbox, synchromesh gearbox and air suspension. The basic fresher programme trainee is trained in all the different vehicles for a three-month period. Left-hand drive vehicles are also available, and training in light vehicles is given through a separate course.
Ashok Leyland's Driver Training Institute at Namakkal
The training tracks cover 15 acres and are equipped with electronic signals, road signs, markings and streetlights for night driving – the key aspects of highway driving. It is evident from the layout of the test roads that all the skills needed for efficient driving have been kept in mind while designing the track. The four-lane road, six-lane road, parking yard, junctions, crossings, three-point turn and five-point turn roads reproduce real road conditions.
In addition, kuccha road (bad road), Y-shaped road, hair-pin bend, blind corner and hill driving simulation offer customised condition for trainees to improve their driving skill on a challenging terrain. For instance, the mine simulation road demands the use of the third differential lock which can be done only in multi-axle vehicles. Initially, unloaded vehicles are used for training. This is subsequently followed by loaded ones. Training for night driving is given once a week.
DTI is constantly upgraded in terms of infrastructure, to keep pace with the improvement in vehicle technology and more challenging conditions for drivers.
In 2005, Ashok Leyland's second driver training institute started functioning at Burari, 30 km from Delhi. In the last two years, the Institute has conducted a recruitment test for the office of the President of India and also provided training for the staff of the American Embassy in Delhi. The Company has trained a total of 3.2 lakh and 1.1 lakh drivers from Namakkal and Burari respectively. It also has 24 at-site trainers who regularly visit customer sites for training on new products and provide technical support.
Ashok Leyland has a tie-up with VRL Logistics and Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd. (KPCL) where it has two exclusive trainers for training drivers on products, road safety and fuel-efficient driving.