Steve has been writing on this site for 10 years now and has in the past written on many subjects. He now concentrates on helping people.
How to become a DVSA approved Driving Instructor in the UK
I set my sights on becoming a Driving Instructor in the early 90's but never went through with it. On reflection it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made where work and careers are concerned. Many years later I found my way into the driver training industry and have never looked back I am glad to say. I finally plucked up the courage to go for it after the industry I was working in changed so much I needed to break away from it. The idea came to me in something of a Eureka moment after experiencing some personal and family problems.
If you are here in search of information and the possibility of training then read on to find out more. If you need more information after reading this article then please feel free to contact me and I will help as much as I can.
This has never been a better time to start
As you can imagine the situation across the world in 2020 and 2021 has forced driving instructors and their pupils off the roads due to the nature of the job. Who would have thought that this could ever happen. It has been tough for everyone concerned.
Because it has been such a tough time the driver training industry has lost many qualified Driving Instructors for varying reasons. One of the biggest reasons is down to older instructors deciding to retire early as a result of the pandemic. Some instructors were forced back into employment and have simply stayed there.
In this last UK lockdown it is estimated that over 470.000 driving tests were cancelled as a result. Add that number to the number of young people turning 17 and wanting to start learning to drive there is MASSIVE demand which is way outstripping the supply of qualified driving instructors.
Trainee instructors will be desperately needed to satisfy the demand for driving lessons in all 4 nations of the UK. That is why it has never been a better start to train for a new career as a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor.
Where to start
A google search is often the best place to start in the digital age. Looking for information about becoming a driving instructor could not be simpler. If you are in the UK a good place to start looking for factual information about becoming a Driving Instructor is the GOV.UK website. This is because the driver training industry is Government regulated. It makes sense that this should be your first port of call when you start to access information about the industry.
Who are DVSA?
The DVSA are known as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and they are a government body who regulate the driver training industry. They are responsible for conducting driving tests for learners and vocational tests such as driving instructors ongoing 4 yearly standards checks, as well as potential driving instructors who are going through the qualification process.
What makes a good driving instructor?
The obvious thing is to like driving if the life of a driving instructor is what you crave. It would make no sense if spending 8 hours in your car doesn't appeal to you. My advice would be not to do it if that isn't the case.
Being a good driver is only the starting point. Here are some of the traits I think you will need to be successful as a driver trainer.
- Sense of humour
- Coachable and a coach
- Continuous development
- Work ethic
- Good at listening
- Clear and concise when speaking
- Willing to learn
- Good attitude
- Level headed
- Good in a crisis
Now this is quite a long list but is by no means complete. I am sure you could add more to it but you can see that to be successful there might be some work for you to do once you start.
Benefits of being a Driving Instructor
The benefits of becoming a driving instructor will vary from person to person. Your reasons for thinking or wanting to be a driving instructor will be different to the next person.
I think you need to start with why you want to do this for a career and the benefits to you will become clear. I have listed some of the things that I believe are benefits.
- No boss / self-employed
- Flexible to work your own hours
- Control over days and times you work
- Working outdoors
- Recognized qualification
- Charge what you're worth
- Sole trader business
- Take holidays when you want to
- Work from your home address
- Can't be made redundant
- Better security
There are 3 exams to pass for you to satisfy the criteria in becoming a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor.
- Part 1 which is the Theory and Hazard Perception test ( Multiple attempts )
- Part 2 the test of your driving ability ( 3 attempts allowed )
- Part 3 test of instructional ability ( 3 attempts allowed )
I would advise researching thoroughly about these tests using the GOV.uk website as previously mentioned as there is a great deal of information which must be absorbed to understand all the requirements.
Passing the exams requires a great deal of personal commitment not only in your training but away from training as well. I would estimate that you would be required to take up to 70 hours training on all parts but those hours could equally be needed for private study at home. What you should remember is that you are investing in your future so both personal and financial commitment is required. Part 2 and Part 3 tests have 3 attempts to pass. If you use all 3 attempts you would need to start the qualifying process again at Part 1. You have as many attempts as you need to pass Part 1.
Once qualified your testing doesn't end there. Your licence to teach will last 4 years and so you will need to sit an industry standards check so that you can continue as an Approved Driving Instructor. The standards check allows the DVSA a snap shot of your teaching ability on an ongoing basis so that they are happy that your teaching is at the expected standard. During the test of continued ability they are looking to be certain that you are giving value for money during your lessons and to a very high standard.
All the tests throughout your career are of a very high standard whether it be the Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 tests and indeed the Standards Check. So it doesn't end when you qualify as you can see.
How do I get the training required?
Becoming a driving instructor isn't as easy as you might think and as mentioned there are 3 tests you will need to pass to qualify in the UK. The training you need is right here when you need to start. It is available Nationwide through our partners Tri - Coaching Partnership. A Google search of the company will give you all the information you need. If you live in the Midlands / East Anglia regions then Steve can help through his training operation Red2Green Instructor Training and a Google search or Facebook search will link you up directly. Simply message with any queries and he will get back to you with the help and assistance you may need.
Red2Green Instructor Training
Covering predominantly Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and East Anglia, Red2Green Instructor Training has links nationally to training establishments and can put you in touch with a trainer near you.
Established since 2015 Steve has achieved many successes with both instructor training and learner driver training and this can be seen by checking out his facebook business pages.
Owned and operated by Steve Mitchell he specializes in the training of potential instructors and forms a big part of his business.
Step by step guide
If you are serious about getting training which will allow you to qualify as a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor these are the steps you will need to follow.
- Go to Gov.uk website and search How to become a driving instructor
- Look for a suitable trainer
- Apply for a criminal records check (DBS)
- Apply to DVSA to go on the register of driving instructors
- Research about being a driving instructor
- Start learning what the criteria is to qualify as an instructor
- Begin your training
- Focus on passing the exams
- Decide on the area you will work
- Do market research and look at what other Schools are offering
- Will you be independent once qualified or will you work for a large National Driving School?
- Look into going on a Trainee Licence
- Pass the qualifying exams
- Start your new career
What is a Trainee or Pink Licence?
Whilst you are training you might be faced with the decision of going down the Trainee Licence route, sometimes referred to as a Pink Licence. The trainee licence does not suit everybody and some will just opt to take the final exam in the hope that they qualify at the first attempt. There is no reason why you shouldn't expect to be able to do this if you have employed the services of a good instructor trainer. If you're anything like me and you are unfortunate to not pass the final exam first time the trainee licence is your opportunity to get real work experience while still being able to take further training before your next attempt.
As mentioned earlier there are 3 attempts at Part 3 and the reason for this is that it isn't easy. Nothing worth having ever is easy and this is probably one of the most difficult but most satisfying qualification you will ever earn.
Advantages and disadvantages of Franchise v Being an Independent Instructor
Find own pupils
Provide own car
No pupil fees
Pay for training
Tied to a contract
Maintenance and replacement car
Pay for all maintenance
Call centre backup
Franchise v Independent what to choose
There are reasons on both sides of the coin as to why both paths will work for you. I think there is an advantage when you first start and qualify that going under the umbrella of one of the big driving schools will work for you as you gain some valuable experience. Not only that but a National driving school can provide a good stream of pupils and this is critical to get up and running quickly.
All the big schools currently are experiencing massive pent up demand due to the restrictions that we have been under in the last year. Those restrictions will come to an end soon and all driving schools will be hit with enquiries on a scale that they will never have experienced at any time in the past, me included.
That's why it is such a good time to get started down this career path.
What should you do?
As can be seen from the table above there are some distinct advantages for becoming independent of the big driving schools. The main reason for going independent is the cost saving against franchise fees. Being independent means that you will provide the tuition vehicle as opposed to it being sourced by the driving school. It has to be said that the big schools make their money from the weekly franchise fees as costs paid by the pupils are paid straight to the instructors.
On the other hand if you are providing the car it is likely that you will keep it for longer, perhaps up to 4 years. A national driving school will have franchise deals between 1 and 2 years on the cars.
When I first qualified I decided to go down the franchise route and it worked for me but it was always in the back of my mind that I was paying a lot for the car. I never looked at the franchise fees as an expense but a necessity. I ran a franchise for 5 years successfully but it was definitely where I learned my trade and made use of the opportunities for training which, inevitably came my way. I am still associated with the driving school despite deciding to go independent at the end of 2020. My link with the school is being part of the training team as an Instructor trainer, training the instructors of tomorrow just like you. I do also train instructors as an Independent trainer too.
Client centered bespoke training
Bespoke training is important when looking for training. Your training should have you at the centre and should be tailored to your needs. All training whether for learners or trainee Instructors should be individual like you.
The training course we use was developed with you in mind by Tri - Coaching Partnership and Red2Green Instructor Training have partnered with them to provide the most up to date Driving Instructor training available.
If having read this article you believe that it could be a job for you please feel free to get in touch to progress things and to discuss my training packages. A quick Google search for Red2Green Instructor Training will get you through to Steve's business facebook page and you can ask him any questions you may have.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Steve Mitchell