Driving instructor training - FAQ's
With so many companies offering training to become a driving instructor, it can be difficult deciding who to train with. To help dispel some of the misinformation that is around, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear.
About the training
Do you offer students the option of a trainee licence to get real experience of the job?
Yes, LDC supports the Governments Trainee Licence scheme and where appropriate we provide this as an option to help our students get real experience of training learners to drive as part of their preparation for Part 3 of the qualifying examination. It is like a modern apprenticeship where for 6 months you can operate as a driving instructor either part-time or full. Although 80% of our students qualify without this option 20% do find it useful. Nationally over 50% find this scheme useful in qualifying. Please note not all driving schools support this scheme and for example the AA driving school do not offer this useful option. Also note, unlike LDC, some driving schools charge much higher franchise fees if you operate on a Trainee Licence. Please note that we do NOT support applications from people for trainee licences who are training with another provider.
What qualifications do I need to become an instructor?
No Formal qualifications are needed but you need to have held your UK or approved foreign driving licence for a minimum of 3 and a half years, have no more than 5 points and have not been banned in the last 4 years. You will also be required to undertake a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB check).
Can I still become an instructor if I have a present or past driving conviction?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are the sole decision maker in accepting applications on to the ADI Register. We recommend confirming this with the DVSA if you have any concerns. There is an online application form which you can fill out to register your interest in becoming an ADI at http://www.gov.uk/apply-to-become-a-driving-instructor otherwise you can call the DVSA on 0300 200 1122.
Can I qualify in 16 weeks or indeed less as some claim?
You may come across a great deal of confusing information regarding this question, mainly from driving instructor training companies trying to sign you up quickly and take your money. The DVSA is responsible for organising and carrying out ADI examinations. The application and administrative process means that it is very difficult to qualify in less than six months. Intensive driving instructor training or fast track driving instructor training simply provides a quick return for the driving instructor training provider at the expense of the student. Test waiting times particularly for parts 2 and 3 can be up to 8 weeks each as can the initial Criminal Record Bureau check needed before you can apply for Part 1 - a total of up to 24 weeks.
Why do so many deliver in-car training intensively over a few days or a week?
We know from experience that intensive in-car training of 6 hours or more per day over 2 or more days at a time is very ineffective (particularly for Part 3 and too a lesser degree for Part 2). The real reason most instructor training companies prefer this method of training is simply because it is cheap to deliver and easy to organise. This method is especially used if the company does not use its own trainers and simply sub-contracts the Part 2 and Part 3 training to the lowest bidder. The main aim is to deliver the training cheaply in blocks to suit them irrespective of the damage caused to the student's prospects of passing the exam.
Which is best 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 in-car training?
Normally, the best approach is 1-to-1 in-car training (i.e. one student to one trainer) as this enables the training to be specifically tailored to the individual and follow a structured approach. Training on a 2-to-1 basis (i.e. two students to one trainer) can equally work as well provided each student is starting from exactly the same point and is suitably matched such that they progress at around the same rate. Otherwise one student is either left behind or held back, or worse still neither get the training they need. Many companies pretend that 2-to-1 is better but really they only push this approach so that they can train intensively to keep costs down or make false comparisons as to the hours they offer when compared to companies who offer 1-to-1 training such as LDC. Also see above about intensive in-car training.
Will I be guaranteed that my trainer is ORDIT Registered?
YES! All of LDC's trainers are ORDIT Qualified. Some companies state that they are ORDIT Registered but only a small number of their trainers will have the ORDIT qualification and the majority will be ADI without any additional training.
Do I get as much training as necessary to pass?
Some companies make it appear that your training is unlimited and therefore there is no need to state what hours are given or in what form the training will be delivered. Consequently you really have no idea what you will get or indeed more importantly when you will get it. Contractually, it is down to the training provider to decide. With LDC we state a clear minimum number of hours of training that will be delivered for each part of the exam. Any in-car training is provided on a time scale agreed with you and the local trainer with free extra hours should you fail any part. See "About the course" for full details.
How flexible is your training?
Many organisations claim to be able to fit in with your commitments but the way the training is delivered often severely restricts this despite what they may say. Training might only be delivered in normal office hours and have to fit in with a fixed schedule or programme - if you miss one session you will have to wait for the next one in their schedule. Training sessions may be of a fixed length and intensive in nature requiring you to have time off work. With LDC the training is truly flexible as the training is student centred rather than trainer centred. We achieve this by providing fully supported home study integrated with local in-car training delivered in flexible sized sessions to best suit the circumstances.
Can you train me and pick me up from home?
Provided your home is close to a suitable training area and near an ADI test centre this would potentially be possible. If this is not the case it would be better for you to meet your trainer at the training area rather than having them waste valuable training time picking you up and dropping you off from home. The last thing you want is to conduct the training near your home if it isn't suitable as this would simply increase your chances of failure.
Is there any time restrictions with your training?
No, unlike some companies our contract is not just for 12 months we continue to train you for as long as it takes. So if you do need to take a break from the training you don't need our written permission to do so or risk losing any training entitlement.
What happens if I fail?
At LDC we are confident that following your individually structured driving instructor training programme you will have the very best chance of passing the qualifying exam. However, should you fail any part of the exam we will provide additional free driving instructor training to ensure that you pass.
Am I tied into the driving school?
No. Whilst most people who train with us go on to join LDC, you are under no obligation. Once qualified, if you wish to go your own way you are free to do so. This is not the case with all training providers. With some driving schools you are committed to remain with them and pay their fees for up to two or three years whether they provide you with sufficient work or not! However if you do decide to join LDC on our standard franchise with car package you will be eligible for our business start up package worth over £3,000 which includes your first 3 months franchise free of charge.
Is there an incentive to sign up today?
Unlike many other companies LDC insist you take sufficient time, away from the company, to make absolutely certain it is what you want to do before you sign any agreements or pay any money. Those companies who have something to hide will always press you for a quick decision. A decision of this importance should at least be considered over a few weeks - not a few days.
Those companies who offer a special deal just for today or just for this week or just for this month do so to get you to buy before you can find out the truth about what they are really offering or how unfavourably it compares to other companies such as LDC. So don't be fooled, take your time and do your research.
About the career opportunity
Is my income/number of pupils guaranteed?
Irrespective of which driving school your are considering the honest answer to this question is no and it is possible to be out of pocket at the end of the week if you haven't earned sufficient money to cover the cost of the car and any fees due to the driving school. However, the way LDC operates makes this far less likely to occur than with those who charge a high weekly or monthly franchise fee.
The only way you can determine if the school will be able to deliver the career prospects you expect, is to make sure you fully understand how the school operates and what unique features it has to offer to the public that will in turn help you to be successful in a competitive marketplace.
Be very wary of any company claiming you will be given all the work you need or stating you don't have to pay the franchise fee if insufficient work is provided - in our experience it inevitably turns out not to be true.
Do you charge an extra £100 more per week for a trainee licence?
We do not charge a higher franchise fee to those who would benefit from this option. Some driving schools such as Red driving school will charge you up to an extra £100 per week if you join their franchise on a trainee licence. And what is even more annoying is that with some organisations the training is so poor for Part 3 that a trainee licence is essential to have any chance of passing.
Is the job recession proof?
Unfortunately, few if any jobs are recession proof. While driving tuition has not been effected to the same degree as some it would be false to suggest our market hasn't been affected. However, despite this down turn enquiries for LDC lessons have continued to increase so far. People are undoubtedly being more careful before they decide, checking out precisely what is being offered and whether it represents good value for money. You only have to see what LDC driving instructors have to offer to fully appreciate why they would prosper in the current economic climate where others might fail.
Is there a national driving instructor shortage?
There has never been a national shortage of driving instructors certainly not over the last 10 years. Demand for driving tuition has never outstripped supply. This false claim is made by instructor training companies who would like you to believe that becoming a driving instructor is a licence to print money and that driving schools are queuing up to give you work.
Do many instructors have waiting lists?
Well all instructors have waiting lists in so far as it would be unusual to give someone a driving lesson on the day they first enquired but it doesn't mean they are fully booked. In our experience LDC driving instructors, once established, do get fully booked and do have waiting lists which grow over time in accordance with their reputation.
Can I work part time with LDC?
Yes. Unlike most driving schools that have high franchise fees, LDC operates a more flexible low cost franchise that allows you to structure your business in the way that suits you whilst at the same time providing a fair income for the driving lessons carried out. The LDC franchise is not only ideal for those who want to work part time on a permanant basis it's also possible to start working on a part time basis (while keeping any existing job) so that you can check out the job before fully committing to it.
Do I get a choice of car?
Yes. Most major driving schools dictate the car you will drive. However, with LDC you have several options. You can drive a car of your own; you can purchase a new car through LDC at a significant discount, or rent one of our driving school cars at a highly competitive rate. The choice of car is yours. We have access to most popular makes and model. This is another example of the flexibility driving instructors enjoy with LDC.
Can I meet with someone from LDC before joining?
Yes. We at LDC always prefer to meet with applicants prior to commencing training to get to know more about you and ensure that you are fully informed about what is involved before any commitment is made.
Am I my own boss?
With most other national driving schools you will not feel like your own boss because of the many restrictions they place upon you. With LDC you have a lot of freedom including the choice of car you use and what services from us you decide to buy. Only the core membership is compulsory. This enables us to provide the least expensive franchise currently in the market place – with a low cost making it ideal for those wishing to only work part time.