What is it?
Training and qualifications
To become an ADI there are various qualifications, compulsory skills and documents you will need to acquire to enter the Official Register of Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT), the one-stop directory of qualified instructors held by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). This register contains around 50 suitably qualified and inspected training establishments in the UK, which should be your first port of call when choosing a training course and/or franchise-based company.
To be included in the register, and become a qualified ADI, there are certain criteria that you must adhere to. You must:
- Have held a full UK or European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) car driving licence for four years
- Be able to read a number plate from a minimum distance of 20 metres.
- Be a fit and proper person to have your name entered in the Register. All convictions including motoring offences, still in force (not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) will be taken into account when Register suitability is assessed
- Pass the Register qualifying examinations and apply within 12 months of doing so
- Pass the three-part ADI exam
In addition, you are not permitted to accompany a driver unless you have held a full UK or EU/EEA driving licence for three years, and you must be aged 21 or more.
Where do I go for training?
Choosing your training school is a crucial decision, and, after having passed your exams, will decide whether you work strictly for yourself or on a self-employed/franchise basis.
Your first task should be to read the guidance on becoming an ADI. This will give you up to date information on requirements and advise you on best practice. Directgov offers an excellent guide, and you can get more vital information from the following link.
Then, once this has been digested, you will need to train for the three-part exam with an organisation that offers the skills and development you need. This can be done in three main ways. Firstly, you can try regular driving schools which offer instructor training via a franchise-based operation. This means you train to become an instructor, but at the same time the company in question has a vested interest in employing you as one of its members.
You can also enquire about driving instructor courses with the Automobile Association (AA) which runs both a training and a franchise operation. The AA charges £2,600 for the course, which lasts between six to 18 months. If you wish to join the AA as a franchisee once the training is complete, you will also receive a £1500 discount if you’ve completed the course through them.
Finally come the training/driving establishments such as Driving Instructor College, which help train potential instructors but who offer no jobs at the end of the course. Zapettis, a trained instructor, gives a warning to potential instructors who go down this route.
“The training establishment is geared to separating the trainee from their money with the promise of earnings they might earn once they qualify, while the trading driving school is concerned with providing training to potential instructors for whom they will ultimately be responsible for providing work.
"Generally speaking, the trading driving school will be far more realistic about the trainee's likelihood of success within the industry because of its knowledge of the market than a training establishment, who might simply be churning out trainee instructors whether or not the market can support them.”
So, choose what you feel is right for you and above all phone around several courses and schools in your local area, or if you have a car go slightly further afield.
Is a franchise a good idea?
Major driver training establishments, such as the British School of Motoring, allow you to join their network as a franchisee; a number of smaller driving schools also offer you the chance to affiliate with them.
If you wish to join an existing school as a franchisee, you’ll have to pay a fee; in the case of British School of Motoring (BSM), fee packages start from £200 a week. You’ll also have to work under their branding – which could be a drawback if you prefer to work on your own.
However, you will always have a regular flow of new pupils as well as those you bring to the school yourself, and you will receive good support such as unlimited use of a car (if you don’t have your own) that is regularly replaced and maintained, as well as various types of insurance and back-up in case anything goes wrong.