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Approved Driving Instructor

Becoming an Approved Driving Instructor, or ADI, can be a very rewarding career to consider as you get to work for yourself or as part of a franchise. Being self-employed comes with many bonuses; one of which is ultimate control over your working day allowing for direct control of your total income. This is all bundled with the satisfaction of helping your students pass their test!

There are various ways an individual can become a driving instructor. For the most eager of drivers the following conditions ideally need to be met to ensure acceptance into a training scheme.

The applicant should be:

  • Over 21 years old.
  • Have had a full UK driving licence for at least 3 consecutive years.
  • Have no driving convictions and ideally less than 6 points on your driving licence.

Among these key points other conditions are also taken into account when applying to be an ADI. A full Disclosure and Barring Check (DBC), formally the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB), is performed to ensure the safety of the students who will be training with you.

Self Employment or Join a Franchise?

Once an applicant feels they can comply with the above requirements they may then start considering how to go about training. In the UK there are many different Driving Instructor Schools some of which are very large organisations and they typically offer two types of training schemes.

First of all an individual can join the school and pay for training with the future intention of being a self employed driving instructor. This will require an independent privately maintained vehicle. Self-employment allows for complete flexibility and self branding. This will mean that a ADI can operate in their own personal manner, obtain students from local advertising or more importantly by work of mouth as their branding and reputation grows. Being self employed also allows for complete flexibility of time and one can work as much as they like and can also set the rate they feel is appropriate for tuition.

Driving Instructor

Training with a company that provides the ability to join a franchise is the other alternative. It is a worthwhile consideration as quite often the fees for training are lower, this is due to the company being aware that they will earn commission at a later date. They are effectively making an investment by training the ADI. Franchises also support the driving instructor and this comes with a couple of important advantages. Often they will supply and maintain a vehicle which is fully equipped with duel controls (for a small monthly fee). They will also provide the instructor with students which can provide a continuous stream of income throughout the year. However, the instructor will never be able to earn as much as someone who is self employed and they have to wear the franchise branding. This means that an individual will be no different to the next instructor in that particular franchise.

Out of the two options presented here I feel that joining a franchise is the more effective way to get into the industry. This also comes with the stability of guaranteed students upon qualification and further down the road you can always consider breaking away to become self employed.

How long and what’s involved?

So how long does it take to train? Well there are three stages a student will have to go though which are listed below. It is usual for this process to take between 6 and 9 months before qualification. Completion of course materials is required and these are checked to ensure the work is being completely in a satisfactory and competent manner.

The exam is a 3 part test in which the potential instructor will be assessed on multiple skills. Typically a minimum requirement is an 80% pass rate in all areas. The test consists of:

  • Theory Ability- This demands a high level of knowledge and understanding of general road safety, driving techniques and styles, understanding how the student learns, instructor to student interaction and much more. The course typically provides a workbook, mock test and revision guides. There is often also some classroom training and teaching.
  • Driving Ability- Possessing a driving licence does not mean you are a great motorist and this section of the exam assesses your abilities as a driver. You would have to perform an extended driving test to demonstrate your ability and are only allowed 6 minor faults and 0 serious or dangerous faults.
  • Instructional Ability- Materials and classes are typically provided to train the instructor how to teach effectively and then tested on this. Demonstrating how to perform certain manoeuvres including emergency stops and other safety precautions.

Failure of any of the parts will result in having to resit the tests again to be able to quality.

Once you have become an approved instructor you can then start teaching your very first student… and you may possibly be more nervous than they are!

Training Costs and Earnings

Many people decide to fund the cost of the training themselves and this can become expensive so it is advised to considering getting a Professional and Career Development Loan (CDL) which can provide access to anywhere up to £10,000. Unless you fail many times you will not need this amount of money. Fees can be found when applying but the entire course, exam and qualification tends to be in the region of £2,500. It is advisable to budget for failure at least once as the final exam is extremely tough and the majority of people fail the first time.

So how much can you earn as an Approved Driving Instructor? Well in the UK it is common to charge £20 to £30 per hour and an instructor can work a variety of lessons but typically an instructor will teach 20 to 35 students per week. On this basis a nett salary can be between £14,000 to £36,000 or even more.

Obviously there are overheads to consider and these can vary greatly depending on whether you are self employed or part of a franchise. Things to consider are fuel, insurance, road tax, vehicle maintenance, any fee owed to a franchise and any loans taken for training.

Based on someone charging £25 per lesson and working 50 hours a week a wage of around £38,000 per annum is possible.

So if this sounds like something you would like to pursue as a career then head over to the Driver & Vehicle Agency to find out more.

Summary of terms (Acronyms)

DBS Check- Disclosure and Barring Check (used to be the Criminal Record Bureau check)

ADI- Approved Driving Instructor

DSA- Driving Standards Agency

CDL- Professional and Career Development Loan

Image Credit-  geograph.org.uk

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