Whatever your reasons for becoming a driving instructor, Stockport is a great place to do it. With a choice of driving instructor tuition courses to fit around your existing commitments, and the potential to head straight into employment, you’d have to have a very good reason to go elsewhere.

Am I eligible?
Not everyone can become an approved driving instructor (ADI). The DVLA have strict guidelines to make sure only safe and competent drivers are allowed to charge for tuition and instruct other people on how to drive as a career.

The first thing you need is a driving licence of your own. It must be a full UK licence, (or for the time-being a full EU one), that you have held for the past 3 years without any driving disqualifications. Although it may be possible for you to start ADI training up to 6 months before then, you won’t be able to teach until your licence is 3 years old. You also need to be 21 or older before you can supervise learner drivers. Again, you can start your training earlier.

If your licence is restricted to automatic vehicles, then you will only be able to teach in automatic vehicles unless you pass the manual driving test. You also need to have no more than 6 penalty points and your application may be refused if you’ve been banned from driving or have certain convictions. You’ll need to obtain DBS clearance – even if you already have one from your current job.

Get Instruction
Much like learning how to drive, becoming an ADI requires you to take lessons from a certified driving instructor. You need someone to coach you for the tests and provide you with pupils to practice your instruction skills. The DVLA maintains a register of approved driving instructor trainers so look for ORDIT (Official Register of Driving Instructor Trainers) registration before booking onto a course.

The ADI Theory Test
Just like you did for your driving test you need to pass a theory test before you can progress to the practical stage. Your trainer will go over all parts of the test and provide you with practice papers. The ADI theory tests includes elements you’ll already be familiar with, such as the Highway Code, along with questions based on driving instruction.

The ADI Driver Ability Test
Following your ADI theory test, the next stage is to prove that you are a competent driver, which is when the practical section of your ADI test comes in. The format is very similar to your original driving test, but you have to pass it within 3 attempts or 2 years of passing the theory test, otherwise you’ll have to do the theory test again.

Practice
Your ORDIT trainer will be able to organise some pupils for you to practice your teaching skills on. You need to wait until your trainee instructor licence has been issued and will need to have had at least 40 hours of ADI driver instruction training (10 hours in a car) before you can take paying pupils. This gives you 6 months to hone your skills before the final test.

The ADI Instructor Ability Test
The final test shows whether or not you can teach safely. You need to provide the car and pupil and the test takes around 1 hour. Once you pass you can apply for your ADI badge and start your new career.

Is that it?
Not quite. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll need to keep your skills up to date. At least every 4 years you need to undertake the ADI Standards Check and renew your registration and DBS clearance. Get in touch with your ORDIT trainer before the four years are up to get a refresher course and polish your skills.