What is MiDAS?

Originally developed by Hampshire County Council, MiDAS is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme, organised by the Community Transport Association U.K. (CTA) which promotes a nationally recognised standard for the assessment and training of minibus drivers. It is a membership based scheme that has been designed to enhance minibus driving standards and promote the safer operation of minibuses.

Who is it MiDAS aimed at?

MiDAS is applicable to any organisation operating or using minibuses. Member organisations range from small voluntary organisations operating one vehicle, to local authorities operating large fleets of minibuses as well as schools, colleges and universities.

How does MiDAS work?

MiDAS operates on a “cascade” approach. CTA has appointed a number of training agents, who provide training for minibus Driver Assessor/Trainers (DAT’s) nominated from member organisations. A DAT can then assess the competence of other minibus drivers, and provide them with training on how to safely use a minibus.

What do drivers get out of this?

Drivers who successfully complete the MiDAS assessment and training programme will receive a nationally recognised certificate valid for four years, as well as the option of obtaining the comprehensive “MiDAS Driver’s Handbook”.

If we wish to join, is there a membership fee?

No, organisations joining MiDAS will only be required to make the following commitment:

To assess and train all new drivers to the MiDAS standard from the date of joining,

To assess and train all existing drivers within a period of 12 months from that date (this may be extended in exceptional circumstances),

To allow drivers holding MiDAS certificates issued by other organisations, to drive your minibuses without the need for re-assessment – although local insurance conditions will always have to be fulfilled, and vehicle familiarisations undertaken.

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PA (Passenger Assistant Training Scheme)

PATS, developed jointly by CTAUK and Hampshire County Council, provides a nationally recognised standard of training to people whose role it is to provide care and assistance to passengers travelling by road.

Following the MiDAS modular format, PATS training is available throughout the UK. Unlike MiDAS, PATS members make a commitment to assess the training needs of staff performing the role of passenger assistant on a vehicle. These people may be paid staff, or volunteers and they may be performing the dual role of driver/carer.

PATS has five modules, an induction module undertaken by all, then modules looking at assisting passengers with disabilities (but not wheelchair users), assisting wheelchair users, assisting children and young people and assisting older people.

Module A: The role of the passenger assistant

This is the foundation module for all passenger assistants. This module enables drivers/carers to understand the role of the passenger assistant. This is the ‘foundation’ module because it is a starting point for further training. It covers the role and responsibilities of a passenger assistant, including legal, practical and safety issues.

The other modules you complete will depend on the needs of the people you work with.

Module B1: Passenger awareness and assistance

This modules covers awareness of passenger needs and how to assist, looking at individuals who don’t use a wheelchair. This module is intended for passenger assistants whose duties involve assisting passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair users but does not cover wheelchair users who travel in their wheelchairs. It contains information on professional etiquette, assisting passengers with walking difficulties, passengers who are blind or partially sighted, passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing and passengers who may use wheelchairs to get to the vehicle. The Module contains a practical skills assessment, which passenger assistants must pass in order to receive a certificate.

Module B2: Assisting passengers who travel in wheelchairs

B2 covers similar aspects to B1 but focuses specifically on passengers in wheelchairs. This module is intended for passenger assistants whose duties include assisting passengers who travel in their wheelchairs. It looks at safe use of passenger lifts and wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint systems (WTORS) and all the issues surrounding wheelchair user safety on vehicles. This module also contains a practical skills assessment, which passenger assistants must pass in order to receive a certificate. Passenger assistants must successfully complete Module B1 before undertaking this Module.

Module C1: Supervising children and young people with special needs

For PA’s who work with children or young people with special needs. This includes supervising children and young people with learning difficulties, autism, physical disabilities, sensory restrictions and emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Module C2: Working with adults who need care and supervision

PA’s who work with vulnerable adults. This includes adult passengers with learning difficulties, dementia, physical disabilities, sensory restrictions and people in mental or emotional distress.

There are also two other ‘specialist’ PATS modules:

Module D Emergency Aid

Module E Manual Handling

Because of their specialised nature these modules cannot be delivered by your Passenger Assistant Trainer. They will be available through specialist training providers. Please contact the CTA for more information.

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