Choose your language

Have you ever driven a truck? Reinventing driver training
Global | Geneva

Have you ever driven a truck? Reinventing driver training

16 Jan 2024 · People

Surprised by the training system for truck drivers in his country, IRU New Industry Shaper Lenno Põder decided to become a truck driver himself to truly understand the profession. He now offers accessible, innovative and inclusive training in Estonia.


About 12 years ago, I created AUTOSERT, a professional truck driving competence centre in Estonia. I started from scratch with the aim of offering innovative and practice-oriented training. Our company now has 40 people. We provide CPC and ADR training, and teach C, CE and D licence categories to novice drivers.

In addition to driver training, we are very active on social media with training videos, news articles and podcasts. We also work in partnership with the wider transport industry in Estonia to promote the truck driver profession and attract more people to the community. For example, we helped to organise the first Estonian Women Truck Drivers Gathering in 2023.

What attracted you to the trucking industry?

So many elements... New technologies, big machines, driving, seeing the world, community, learning, etc. The industry suits my personality.

I feel that professional drivers need help. The working environment is sometimes difficult to understand, with many rules and laws causing pressure to avoid heavy fines. I want to help drivers be better informed so they can have a stress-free job and better life quality.

What I like the most is to travel to other countries and show how truck drivers live. I have visited and published short films about Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Armenia and soon India. I hope this inspires more people to become truck drivers!

What is your best quality for this job?

To be a good trainer, you need two things: good acting skills to keep classes lively and engaging, as well as experience as a truck driver. If my trainers don’t have any experience driving trucks, then I organise sessions for them to get behind the wheel. You need to know what you’re dealing with!

Before setting up AUTOSERT, I decided to work as a truck driver in Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Norway, Sweden and Finland. I needed to understand the real issues that drivers face every day. Their real work conditions. This experience has helped me to design new courses and methods that match drivers’ needs and provide practical solutions.

What’s the most important lesson you learned during that experience?

I remember the first training at my own company around 2014. Before that, my colleague and I had made several trips as truck drivers across Europe, but we were still a little bit nervous. The training started and suddenly one student shouted, “Have you ever had any real experience as a truck driver or are you theoretical like all the other trainers who really do not know anything about the real truck driver life?”

I am so grateful I was prepared for that question. I showed them all my trips, pictures and videos, and then the atmosphere softened. At the end of the training, they said it had been the best training they had ever received. It goes to show that trust and respect are central to building a community.

How are you changing the profession for the future?

In Estonia, the profession receives limited promotion, so we have a lot of responsibility in that regard. Of course, we want to get more people to our training sessions, but we also work hard to reduce the driver shortage.

There are many people who would be interested in joining our industry if they knew more about it. I think we can encourage more young people and women to become truck drivers with good professional skills.

What are the challenges in your area of work, and do you see any solutions for the future?

There are some questionable training companies on the market with cheap prices, no realistic content and less study hours than needed. This is causing huge damage to the competition and to those drivers who received a piece of paper but are not equipped with the skills to do their job proficiently. 

I hope we develop a certification process for training companies, requesting them to prove their professional skills and methods.

What would you say to younger people who are unsure about joining our sector?

If in your heart there is even a small desire for driving big machines, just give it a go! You will be supported every step of the way by your trainers, colleagues and the entire community. The technological and technical innovations are making the truck driver profession much more enjoyable for the future. You will not regret it!