International Supplement 2005 News – BSkyB gives driving lessons to crews

BSkyb is introducing driving lessons for television crews on assignment abroad, including correspondents on the ground in Baghdad and Afghanistan. Mark Sayer, group head of health and safety at the news organisation, said: "The foreign driving policy is designed to try and ensure that, where people are going to environments with different driving conditions, they are given appropriate instruction and information to prepare them for that." Staff posted overseas will spend one day taking driving lessons at a training centre. The firm is working in partnership with risk assessment provider Drivetech to put together the scheme, which will be brought in over the next three months. Sayer added that while some foreign correspondents in certain locations have drivers, many drive themselves. "We’ve got personnel in Iraq at the moment, we’ve got people in Afghanistan and we’ve got news bureaus all over the world. In some situations we take on locally employed drivers as they’ve got the local knowledge necessary to get our people in and out of situations. Naturally we employ individuals that support our news crews when they are overseas and give them specialist advice." But staff at BSkyB’s seven bureaus worldwide, including Beijing, Moscow and Tel Aviv, drive their own vehicles. The scheme is part of a health and safety overhaul. While the firm has had no major driving accidents abroad, it hopes that the scheme will protect drivers and reduce insurance premiums.