Hi everyone.

First off, I’d like to thank all those who attended this year’s AGM, and for giving me the opportunity to remain as Chief Observer for another 12 months, which look to be as busy and challenging as ever. This will be my 5th year as Chief Observer and under current club rules, it will be my last. I hope to make it a good one.

Last year provided us with some interesting challenges as we got to grips with changes in the Observing qualifications through the introduction of the IMI (the Institute of Motor Industry) programme. The National Observer qualification is reasonably well established now and, to date, we have 13 Observers who have passed that test. Recently though, the IAM confirmed that the Local Observer programme has been suspended following an initial review of the process and feedback received. A further review is due to be completed by June 2014, so hopefully we will get another update after that. In the meantime, we will continue to validate new TVAM Observers along the same lines as before.

On the subject of new Observers, we held another successful induction day recently. This course has been completely revamped over the past year or so, with a new style, new content and better alignment with the National Observer programme. Jon Taylor and Amanda Smith also attended and I’d like to thank them for their assistance with some of the practical exercises, and their feedback at the end of the day. In order to emphasise the change in focus for this day, we have renamed it the Core Skills Day. I would encourage all Observers to get to know the latest Trainee Observer guidance and coaching information as soon as possible. TVAM has always tried to have the highest standards for its Observers and I think that recent changes have taken this to a new level. Particular thanks go to Iain James and Howie Pyett, who both spent countless hours putting the final touches to the material in the days leading up to the course.

IAM Price Increases!
The IAM have confirmed that from the 1st October this year, the Skills for Life package price will be increased from £139 to £149. Some of the reasons given for this are: the expenses paid to the Examiners are being increased (the first time in 15 years) and removal of qualification fees for things like the National Observer test. Additionally, the IAM membership fee is being increased by £1 for those that do not pay by direct debit. It will be interesting to see how the Skills for Life price increase affects take-up and we will be monitoring this closely.

Observer Weekend
This year’s Observer Weekend will again be held at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells on the 7th and 8th June. All Observers and Trainee Observers are invited and places are filling up fast. This is a great opportunity to get to meet Observers from different local teams over a beer and enjoy riding with them on some great Welsh roads – all with guaranteed sunshine of course! If you haven’t booked your place yet, you can do so online via the web shop in the members’ area of the website.

Safe riding everyone.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer