If you are attending mandatory courses then your travel should be protected with insurance provided by your employer, invariably this is classed as working hours so you should be paid. I once had to travel at 04:30 to attend a very long intense course and was told that i could not travel the day before. The drive was long and i got to the course with 2 mins to spare and already tired and in need of caffeine. My boss at the time however flew to a conference the night before and flew back the day after but nobody questioned it.
And we wonder why people leave their employment when crap like this happens.