The Freight Transport Association's (FTA) Van Excellence scheme has received a boost after fleet management firms BT Fleet and TomTom Business Solutions became industry partners of the programme, Fleet News reports.

Van Excellence was started by the FTA in 2010, aiming to increase the standards of van operation and driving in the UK by introducing the Van Excellence Code for operators to aspire to.

Other industry partners of the scheme include Hertz, ATS Euromaster and Route Monkey, all of which have helped to spread the programme's message by promoting the Van Excellence Code among their respective customers.

Giles Mergerison, TomTom Business Solutions' UK and Ireland managing director, commented: "This partnership fits nicely with our goal to increase awareness of high standards of best practice in van fleets, and facilitate sustainable and successful initiatives that are underpinned by trusted, industry leading Fleet Management technology. This helps raise the standard and promote safe and efficient van fleets across all industry sectors."

The scheme's industry partners will help to promote the work of the FTA by working on a number of projects and initiatives, including three new conferences on van driving, the creation of a Van Excellence supplement and the publication of best practice guides.

All of this could help to raise the standard of van operations in the UK, with employers now offering jobs in logistics only to candidates who are able to demonstrate the very highest level of competence and safety.

Mark Cartwright, FTA head of vans and light commercial vehicles, said: "The support of these two organisations to Van Excellence is invaluable and is testimony to the scheme which has become such an integral part of organisations who operate vans, and illustrates the important part they play in the day-to-day work within the logistics industry."

Meanwhile, the FTA has also announced its involvement in the forthcoming Technician Professional Development Conference, which takes place in London on April 17th and aims to tackle issues such as the creation of a professional career path for vehicle technicians.

Other industry bodies taking part in the conference include the Institute of Road Transport Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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