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From Hartlepool to Malaysia – sharing the road safety message

From Hartlepool to Malaysia – sharing the road safety message


Vicky Folland is passionate about road safety. For the past 18 years the 40-year-old mother-of-three has been coaching learner drivers in her native Hartlepool through her one-woman driving school. Now she has expanded into fleet training, joining the RoSPA team as a Fleet Associate.

Following some fleet training assignments for RoSPA in the UK, she began 2024 with her first international job in Malaysia.

“I assessed delegates on the RoSPA Level 3 Award in Behavioural Driver Training (International),” she says. “Another trainer, Ashley Grigg, had already delivered the course and my job was to assess their driving and coaching abilities. Each of them had been trained to a high standard by Ashley and it was an absolute pleasure to see the skills they had developed throughout the week. The delegates will now return to their companies and help other workers progress with their driving.”

Vicky set up her driving school at the age of 21.

“I’ve always known I wanted to drive. I started my driving lessons on my 17th birthday. I was lucky that my dad also took me out in the car and gave me loads of additional help and support. I passed my driving test first time, five months after my first lesson.”

She gained her instructor licence with the help of other instructors in Hartlepool.

“We have a really good supportive community of instructors and we all look out for each other. Because of the support of this community I’ve been able to work for myself the whole time.


Vicky Folland

“For the last two years I’ve been in the Intelligent Instructors’ list of the top 100 instructors. This year I got silver for instructors in the north-east of England. I run my business as carbon neutral and I’ve won two national awards – Green Driving School of the Year and Eco Driving School of the Year.”

Vicky wanted to spread the road safety message even further and felt the best way to do so was to diversify. It was a decision that needed the support of her whole family, including husband Mark, an Installation Integrity Engineer currently working off Aberdeen in the North Sea, children, Evie, 15, Harry, 13, and Charlie, 6, and her parents, sisters and father-in-law.

“It’s always a full team effort and I’m extremely grateful,” she says, before explaining what her plans were.

“As well as continuing with my driving school, I wanted to get into fleet training, which involves giving further training to drivers who already have a driving licence. It’s usually more about going into a corporate environment, going into somebody’s workplace. They might want to do defensive driving; lots of companies have a work safe, home safe policy, so they’ll send people who work for them on a defensive driving course to try and reduce the risk of them being involved in an incident when they’re travelling to and from work. Or you might have people who need to do advanced driving for their jobs, driving to a police standard, or you get people who need to be trained to be a driver assessor, and they can then assess their whole fleet of vehicles.

“I contacted RoSPA, and Izzy Albutt, Head of RoSPA’s Training Academy, advised me to take the RoSPA advanced driving course, and if I achieved gold I could consider enrolling on the RoSPA Level 4 Award in Advanced Behavioural Driver Training course.”
Vicky joined the RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Cleveland group and passed the advanced driving test at Gold standard in March 2022.

“The group was brilliant,” she enthuses. “I didn’t think I needed any further training. I thought, I’ve done this for years, I’ll just pass the advanced driving test. How wrong was I! The examiner said I should go out with one of the advanced tutors, Ged O’Hare, who also lives in Hartlepool. He was brilliant, the knowledge he gave me was fantastic. I couldn’t have passed that advanced driving test without the support of the group. We meet once a month and the amount of knowledge within the group is fantastic. I’m still a member – they can’t get rid of me!”

Another call to RoSPA HQ followed, and Vicky enrolled on the Level 4 course in August 2022. The five-days of training in Birmingham included learning how to coach properly, mastering different methods and techniques and looking at the psychology behind why people behave the way they do, determining why they do things wrong on the road. Mornings were spent in the classroom, then it was on the road each afternoon.

After gaining the qualification, it was suggested that Vicky apply to RoSPA for a role as a freelance Fleet Associate.

“When I was offered the chance to join the team, I put the phone down and cried,” she admits. “I’ve been self-employed for a long time, and I know I’m good at what I do, but it really meant a lot that somebody else recognised and valued what I was good at.

“I’m so happy to be part of the team, I feel really passionate about improving road safety standards, and to be able to do that internationally is a great privilege. In Malaysia, it was so good to see how well the three delegates progressed, the way their confidence grew and the change in their driving, and how they’ll be able to implement those changes. It will have a huge knock-on effect, it will become the working culture in their business and will benefit so many more people.

RoSPA’s Level 4 Award in Advanced Behavioural Driver Training (RFS Customised Award) is a prestigious and DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) approved course designed to equip individuals with the coaching skills and qualifications necessary to become a qualified fleet driver trainer. By successfully completing this five-day course you can gain entry to the DVSA fleet register, which is a significant achievement in the field of advanced driver training.

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