A NEW qualification has helped put a group of North-East cabbies in the driving seat.

The BTEC Award (Level 2) in Transporting Passengers by Taxi and Private Hire is part of the sector's target to raise the skills levels amongst its workforce.

Eight drivers at Station Taxis, in Darlington, have completed the qualification, with three ready to undertake the training in the next few months.

The qualification was also achieved by Station Taxis' managing director, Michael Dunn.

The cabbies tackled the course at Bishop Auckland College.

The firm's general manager, Andy Watson, said: "Initially, our drivers did not think they needed training. They had all been doing the job for years and were very experienced.

"However, the course has been extremely beneficial and they have all learned something."