Two Michelin Training Instructors from the UK have completed secondments with international development organisation Transaid, each spending a week supporting the charity’s professional driver training programmes in Ghana and Zambia.

Paul Ryder and Stephane Bonnard, usually based at the Michelin Training and Information Centre (MTIC) in Stoke-on-Trent, delivered a bespoke training tailored toward the needs of truck and bus driver trainers – supporting Transaid’s ‘train the trainer’ model, which aims to develop skills at a local level.

Their inputs covered everything from understanding tyre sidewall markings to vehicle configurations, wheel fixings, and tyre fitting, including wheel security and safe vehicle jacking procedures. They also taught how to assess tyre wear and damage, what different wear patterns mean, correct vehicle inspection techniques, and tyre pressure importance.

Ryder flew 16 hours to Zambia to complete his secondment with Transaid’s longstanding partner, the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka. During a busy week he ran two separate two-day courses, sharing his knowledge with 16 professional driver trainers, who will in turn go on to train hundreds of drivers each.

This was followed by Bonnard’s visit to Ghana, where over a similar timeframe, he trained 25 HGV driver trainers and road safety officials, utilising the facilities of local haulier J K Horgle Transport in the port city of Tema.

Upon returning, Ryder said: “The feedback from participants at the end of the training was fantastic. We covered so much over those four days, and I flew home knowing we’d successfully imparted new skills which they would be able to utilise when training the next generation of drivers.

“I felt a huge sense of satisfaction, as they’d been so receptive to the topics we covered. I am confident our time together will help to create safer roads.”

Bonnard shared a similar experience in Ghana, saying: “The participants were really engaged in the process from day one, and so keen to learn. I now have a much better appreciation for what Transaid is working so hard with its local partners to achieve. It was also a fantastic development opportunity for me personally, and a great way for Michelin to mark 25 years as a founding member of this very special organisation.”

Ryder’s visit is an extension of the project Transaid began in Zambia in 2008 when it partnered with the ITC, the only public commercial driver training centre in Zambia.

Transaid’s current work in Ghana began in 2021 and forms part of a three-and-a-half-year project, funded by Puma Energy Foundation, to raise training standards and expand training capacity for HGV drivers – in a country where approximately 98 per cent of freight is transported by road.