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Driving Instructors teach people how to drive, primarily in order to be able to pass their driving test. However, they will also be preparing their students for a lifetime of safe driving.
When taking on a new learner, an Instructor will determine the level of knowledge and driving skills that they have.
They will then carry out a course of lessons, during which time the pupil will learn how to confidently operate a car, how to turn, manoeuvre and park, how to check a vehicle and do basic things such as fill it with petrol and how to react to emergencies. They will also emphasise and teach road safety and the Highway Code.
Driving Instructors can be self-employed or work for a franchise. When working for a franchise, Instructors are provided with a car, and pay the company a weekly fee for the use of the car, which can be up to £300.
They will work in a car, often with dual controls, so that they can adjust their pupil’s driving if need be. Guidance may be provided for the pupil in preparation of their theory test, however they will undertake their own study in their own time.
When a pupil is ready, their Driving Instructor helps to apply for a driving test date, and assists their pupil in final preparations for the exam.
How to become a Driving Instructor
A candidate needs to be an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) registered with the Driving Standards Agency. In order to become one, they must possess a full, clean UK or EU driving licence and have had it for a minimum of four years in the last six.
They must not have been disqualified from driving in the previous four years. And they must pass criminal record and motoring conviction checks.
Finally, they must take and pass a theory test, and then two practical exams, one concerning driving skills, the other teaching ability. While not required to do so, a candidate is able to register on the trainee licensing scheme after passing their theory and driving skills test. This scheme allows a candidate to teach (and be paid to do so) through a driving school for up to six months, gaining teaching experience before taking their final exam.
Training schools provide courses to prepare candidates for the tests. A lot of schools prefer candidates to be over the age of 21 due to the cost of insurance premiums.
Information on becoming an ADI and training for it can be found on the Directgov Motoring website, and training schools are listed on the Official Register of Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT).
Once a candidate has passed their exams, they can join the ADI register and start teaching. A qualified ADI has to renew their registration every four years, which involves taking a test.
Skills and knowledge required
- Good driving skills
- Detailed understanding of the Highway Code and road safety
- Strong observational skills and quick reactions
- Good communication skills and the ability to give criticism constructively
- Good people skills and patience
Driving instructors’ income is determined by how many hours they work and the cost of their lessons. An hourly lesson usually costs £19-25 an hour, and Instructors can work up to 48 hours a week.
Working hours are usually organised by the Driving Instructor themselves, liaising with their pupils. As a result, they often have to work evenings and weekends in order to fit in with their pupils’ timetables.
www.driving.org - Driving Instructors’ Association (DIA)
www.dft.gov.uk/dsa/ - Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/index.htm - DirectGov Motoring