Simon Johnston and Peter Williamson set up AcciDON’T in 1999 with a £1 share each. Both had left their position at another driver training company with a strong sense that they could do things better and a drive to become masters of their own destiny. “We were both young and ambitious, and willing to take the risk. Back then, our primary aim was to deliver fleet training and driver risk management services to a wide range of customers, from small UK businesses to large, multi-national oil service companies. We knew our market and had some customers who had followed us from our previous jobs,” says Simon. The business was a reasonable success, and they even subcontracted work in order to fulfil their contracts.

One of the advantages of being a small business is the ability to be flexible and respond quickly to change in demand. So, when in 2006 they received a call from the MOD asking them to train 150 new recruits to drive in five weeks they immediately took up the challenge. It signalled a new focus for the business and a shift in strategy. They subsequently won a contract to deliver more training and, year on year, delivered increasing amounts of training for the MOD. They now teach in excess of 4,000 soldiers, sailors and airman per year, employing nine full-time staff and approximately 100 contractors.

Armed and Ready

AcciDON’T are one of a small number of specialised companies delivering licence acquisition training to the armed forces. Using a substantial team of instructors and a bespoke, web-based management system, they deliver ‘on demand’ training at a multitude of locations throughout the country. Although car driver training is the mainstay of the contracts, a small proportion is in larger vehicles including Cat C+E and Cat D. “Unlike teaching civilians over a number of months, we have a maximum of 10 days from start to finish. Intensive teaching has its own challenges and is not for all instructors, although it does allow instructors to have their evenings and weekends to themselves.”

Expanding Opportunities

In order to make more efficient use of their training fleet, they have opened up intensive training to the public through a DVSA Customer Site in Newark, while another in Darlington will open early next year and a further three are in the pipeline. These sites will provide training and testing for car and trailer, lorry and bus licences. A big part of the company’s success has come through their continuing investment in technology over the last 20 years, this has reduced administrative costs and allows real time efficient management of up to 100 instructors and 200 students, all on intensive courses. “Booking driving tests, managing the results, invoicing and trainer payments are all automated. We are able to have an invoice in our customer’s inbox before the examiner has walked back to their office. The success and reliability of the platform we have designed has led us to developing a very powerful application for independent instructors, allowing them to access the tools that are normally only the preserve of much larger operations.”

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