- Vinayak Joshi, Director, Helekar´s Defensive Driving Advisors
Helekar´s is a consultancy organising training programs on Defensive Driving for various categories of drivers. In last 20 years it has conducted more than 8,500 programmes all over India and trained more than 1,47,000 Personnels. Vinayak Joshi, Director, Helekar´s Defensive Driving Advisors, elaborates on the organisation´s major initiatives.
What prompted you to start this organisation?
The whole concept started with P N Helekar an ex-Air India General Manager, Equipments, attended a seminar conducted by National Safety Council at Chicago, USA on defensive driving followed by a train the trainer programme.
After retiring from Air India, he assessed that there was no training curriculum on defensive driving existing in India. Inspired by this, he founded this training school in a modest way by conducting such training programmes with NOCIL, BPCL, IOCL and others where drivers were operating tankers transporting hazardous chemicals. He started by conducting three days driver training programmes and refresher course every three months.
On a personal front, I worked for nearly 25 years with Escorts and Larsen & Toubro. All my life was spent in dealing with operators and technicians being part of their service departments. At a point of time, I felt that I can contribute more meaningfully to the industry and society through training. As a result, I joined Helekar´s in 2000. Ever since, I am conducting training in India and abroad. Based on my knowledge, we expanded the scope to cover earthmoving, cranes and other construction equipment.
What are the value additions done by you to ensure safety?
On customer´s insistence, I have conducted road mapping to identify hazardous and accident prone areas, made safety films for National Safety Council and private companies. I never say no to a request. Let us see what is in store in the future.
What type of disciplines you cover in your training programmes?
We train on operation and maintenance of vehicles and equipment. Motivational training is also part of our portfolio. We also give training for two-wheelers because so far self-learning to drive two-wheelers has been the country norm. Secondly, especially in case of trucks and dumpers, large number of helpers graduated to full-fledged drivers though what I call ¨Ustad Helper Training Academy¨. Obviously, these training practices are not acceptable. Accordingly, we have aligned with Regional Transport Authorities and Automobile Associations to officially conduct training of new aspirants, prior to issue of the driving license to them.
How do you source your students?
All my students are designated by my clients and also through mouth-to-mouth publicity. We do place any promotional advertisements in newspapers or print media. Over the last 20 years, we have developed an impressive customer base.
What should the government do to promote your initiatives and activities?
Government should make defensive driver training mandatory for all new entrants. From our side we are willing to train the trainers and printed material free of charge to the authorities.