Up to Speed Training & Assessment

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Up to Speed Training & Assessment is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director AdrianPulham
We train across a number
of skill disciplines for the
highways sector
Now approaching its tenth year of trading, with a history
of steady year-on-year growth, Up To Speed Training
& Assessment Ltd was established in 2009 by current
Managing Director Adrian Pulham. It was born out of a reaction
to the sometimes-poor service provision he experienced as a
health, safety, environment and quality manager in the civil
engineering and construction industry. Adrian elaborates and
The Parliamentary Review
what makes Up To Speed a
proactive, sustainable training provider.
While working in the highways sector with a responsibility for a 90-person
workforce, I recognised that sourcing quality training that delivered the desired
business objectives and support was becoming increasingly difficult. The provision
simply wasn’t there – so, ten years ago, I took the leap to begin supplying it myself.
The state of British highways
Every day, the majority of us use the public highway, whether it be in a motor
vehicle, on a bicycle or walking on the pavements. We expect these to be suitably
maintained, safe and free from congestion to allow undisrupted journeys.
A combination of a continuously increasing population, more vehicles on the road
than ever and serious environmental change, however, is resulting in our highways
becoming more worn more quickly. This has been well publicised in the media with
the ongoing issues of potholes, degraded carriageways and increased congestion
causing unwanted delays.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2009
»Based in Birmingham
»Services: Training for the
highways sector
»No. of employees: 7 directly,
with 16 subcontractors
»Head office near Gravelly Hill
Interchange, also known as
“Spaghetti Junction”, one
of the UK’s greatest civil
engineering achievements
»Leading National Highways
Sector Scheme 12 training
Up To Speed Training
& Assessment
Highlighting best practice
The general public, however, expect the
roads that are maintained on their tax
money to be fit for purpose and safe.
Meeting public demand –
making our roads safer
To achieve this, the entire industry
is fighting a continuous battle to
meet public expectations up and
down the UK. Although this is led by
government-appointed departments,
local authorities and organisations such
as Highways England, it cannot be
won alone.
They require the expertise and efforts
of a massive network of specialist
contractors, civil engineers and
subcontractors to work tirelessly, often
in high-risk situations, during unsociable
hours and at all times of the year.
To ensure they’re appropriately
equipped to carry out this work, the
government has National Highways
Sector Schemes: certifications for
working on British highways. Across 20
distinct programmes – at the time of
writing – these schemes cover activities
ranging from fencing, landscaping
and vehicle safety restraints to
road surfacing, marking and traffic
These schemes ensure that work is
carried out to the highest standards
of professionalism by properly trained
staff while also emphasising the
importance of health and safety.
How did we get involved?
Initially, we focused on providing
training in National Highways Sector
Scheme 12, which covered temporary
traffic management operations: the
provision of temporary roadworks to
provide physical segregation between
workers and the travelling public,
ensuring minimum risk for all parties
Through further consultation, however,
we have grown through diversification
into other areas of the highways
sector and have incorporated other
generic and specific skills required
by highways workers. We now offer
training in National Highways Sector
Scheme 10B for permanent vehicle
restraint systems, first aid, health and
safety, construction and “rural skills”,
which covers the maintenance of
embankments and verges near roads
and pavements.
We have developed a reputation
throughout the industry for our
outstanding focus on safety and
professionalism. Consequently,
we have been commissioned by
some of the country’s largest traffic
management specialists to produce
tailored, specialist training packages
that meet the specific needs of the
client, which may well not be otherwise
covered by an NHSS certification.
A stark change in recruitment
Historically, the recruitment process
for the industry was carried out over
a beer in a pub, or simply by knowing
someone else who worked on the
roads. In modern times, however,
with legislative changes demanding
it, we’ve had to move towards a
We are a leading NHSS
12 training provider
The entire
industry is
fighting a
battle to meet
up and down
the UK
more formal and compliant recruiting
process across the sector.
All operatives now undertake extensive
training and assessment to ensure
they are trained to go out onto the
highways to complete the work
needed. Before they step onto a
road and work for the very first time,
training must be completed – and it
doesn’t stop there.
An ever-changing industry
with public importance
I am exasperated sometimes by the
public perception of roadworks as
being nothing more than a nuisance
– this is also, at times, exacerbated
by TV shows and media coverage.
The general public do need to
recognise that there’s always a
purpose for equipment on the roads,
and that we’re not trying to disrupt
With new challenges on the roads
every day, the highways sector
never stands still, and to this end
continuously embraces the newest
innovations and technology on the
market. As a result, we are presently
developing “live” VR environments
which simulate high-risk environments
and allow learners to experience
them in the safety and security of a
Developing a certified
apprenticeship scheme
Even though the highways sector
is dedicated to enhancing and
maintaining infrastructure not only for
the public but also for the economic
benefit of the country, it receives
absolutely no support in funded
training of any sort – all training is
paid for by the contractors completing
Unlike other areas of the construction
and civil engineering sector, there is
no official highways apprenticeship
scheme. Although stakeholders have
come together in the past to try to
create such an approved programme,
as of yet, dishonest investors and a
lack of external support have meant
that this is still in development. Going
forward, however, it’s something we
really do think is necessary.
Continuing to deliver across
the UK
From our well-connected head office in
Birmingham and other training venues
in both the north and the south, we
provide training to contractors up
and down the country. Almost ten
years on, we have firmly established
ourselves as one of the country’s
leading NHSS 12 training providers,
and the future looks bright.
Over the next few years, we want to
continue diversifying by offering more
and more schemes. We would also
like to see support from central and
local government in both changing the
public’s perception of roadworks and
making the highways sector a more
accessible and appealing career path
for younger people with vocational
skillsets to pursue.
We have
developed a
throughout the
industry for our
focus on safety
The general public’s
perception of the
highways sector needs
to improve


This article was sponsored by Up to Speed Training & Assessment. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.