Fleet training organisation, the recently launched, Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) – embracing the long-established ICFM – is anticipating a membership boom with demand for its online distance learning courses increasing as the coronavirus pandemic bites.

AFP, which undertakes fleet industry training under the new Fleet Academy banner, following the merging of ICFM and trade organisation ACFO’s operations, offers both its Introductory Certificate in Car Fleet Management and Intermediate Certificate levels in Car and LCV Fleet Management programmes as online distance learning courses.

Only its Diploma (Advanced Level) Programme is exclusively tutor-based and the Fleet Academy has, in the light of UK Government advice and guidance, taken the decision to postpone further classroom-based training for that course as well as that for the Certificate course until September. However, any resumption will be kept under review as Government guidance dictates. The Introductory Certificate course is only available online.

Fleet Academy sales and marketing director Peter Eldridge said: “The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is having a seemingly unprecedented in at least a generation impact on the world generally and the fleet industry as a whole.

“The Fleet Academy is committed to providing online courses that take into account the limitations on travel and social gathering that we are all facing, and will continue to do so over the coming months.”

Training courses are applicable to fleet decision-makers – fleet operators, but also including those with fleet responsibility working in HR, finance and procurement roles and the fast-emerging mobility function – as well as to employees of companies supplying a wide range of services to fleets including contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies and dealer-based corporate fleet personnel.

The Introductory Programme leading to the Introductory Certificate in Car Fleet Management is designed specifically for new entrants to the fleet industry. In addition to providing a background on how vehicle fleet management has evolved, the course enables new entrants to begin to understand what’s involved in developing a fleet policy relevant to the needs of a business, the importance of asset management and provides a pointer to the changing face of fleet-related roles in the future. The course involves approximately 12 hours of study and costs £99.

The Intermediate Certificate Programme, which leads to the Certificate in Car & LCV Fleet Management qualification, which is the benchmark standard for those involved in the management of a vehicle fleet, covers five modules on: Principles of people management, effective vehicle fleet administration, finance, acquisition and remarketing and legal compliance. There are also assignments and knowledge reviews following the completion of each module.

The study time is anticipated to be between 30 and 40 hours in total, but one of the major benefits of the Programme is the ability to work through the course on a flexible time arrangement that fully supports business needs and periodic pressures. Students can ‘park and return’ to the Programme to suit their individual requirements – as they can the Introductory Programme. The cost of the programme is £1,500 with the option of external endorsement from the Institute of Learning Management at an additional cost of £74.

Each of the five modules comprising the Intermediate Certificate Programme are also available for purchase individually at a cost of £350 per module.

Online tutor support is available for all students undertaking both Programmes.

Mr Eldridge said: “The fleet industry and employee learning cannot grind to a halt amid all the sector-based challenges faced around, for example, changing legislation, tax regulations, new technologies and Clean Air Zones.

“The Fleet Academy is fully geared up to further enhance the skills and abilities of all employees with fleet responsibility and those working in the supply side of the industry as we all seek to overcome the new work and personal challenges imposed on us all by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Mr Eldridge added: “Online courses are generally popular because the way the new generation of fleet decision-makers are working and studying is changing. We believe that as home-working is being introduced by many employers it simultaneously offers employees a greater opportunity to expand their knowledge-base and qualifications.”

He concluded: “Regarding tutorial-led training, the safety and wellbeing of all our members and prospective members is of paramount importance. That is why all planned training courses involving delegates meeting and travelling will cease at least until September 2020 unless Government advice allows for an earlier resumption of activity. Further updates will be provided on a regular basis.”

 Fleet Academy qualifications are viewed as the de facto stamp of approval for employees with fleet responsibility whether as full-time professional fleet managers or as part of an HR, finance or procurement role. They are also increasingly being viewed as job-critical for employees working in the fleet service support arena, including at contract hire and leasing companies, fleet management organisations and in dealer-based corporate fleet departments.

Further information is available on the AFP website – www.theafp.co.uk – or by emailing the AFP administration hub at administration@theafp.co.uk.