As has been the tradition for many years, we held the TVAM Observer Weekend in Llandrindod Wells recently. This weekend, held annually, is aimed at providing TVAM Observers with an opportunity to work on their observing and riding skills, catch up with the latest from the IAM and to share ideas.

The weekend is open to all TVAM Observers and Trainee Observers (TObs), and this year 40 of us enjoyed a weekend of glorious weather and the great roads that are such a feature of the mid-Wales location. One of several topics under discussion this year was the requirement for all IAM Observers to hold a professional qualification by January 2018. This is awarded at either Local Observer or National Observer level and involves an observing and riding assessment carried out by an IAM Regional Quality Manager for the National or a TVAM Assessor for the Local.

The standards set by the IAM for the National is higher than that of the Local but within TVAM we have taken the decision to only adopt the higher National Standard. We had anticipated that most TVAM Observers will choose to aim for the National and this seems to be the case. Currently we have 22 National Observers and several more in preparation, and for those electing to go the Local route we have a revised Local Observer Cross Check process so, with over 100 Observers in TVAM, we have lots to do!

In our role as Observers, one of the most valuable tools we have is the demonstration ride, whether this is a progressive run in the NSL’s or just picking our way through the traffic at 3mph, whenever an associate sees us ride it is, in effect, a demo ride. In the coaching world this is called modelling, and is how we all learned to walk and talk.

For this reason I have tried to increase the emphasis of the Observer Weekend on riding standards, and our openness to receiving feedback from each other. This year we all played the role of IAM Examiners conducting a National Observer assessment on another Observer with an IAM scoring sheet. The results of this exercise were collated and reviewed as part of a session titled Giving Bad News.

The next time you are feeling a little anxious with an Observer behind you watching every move, just remember, we know what if feels like.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making the weekend a success, especially Simon Whatley who co-ordinated the bookings, the TVAM Training Team and the team leaders, Nick Caiger-Smith, Graham Knight, David Robinson, Pete Dalgliesh and Dave Parsons.

Safe Riding!


Pat Coneley

Chief Observer