Trainee Driving Instructor Licence Explained

If you are thinking about becoming a driving instructor and are asking; ‘What is a trainee driving instructor licence?’, below we’ll explain what a trainee driving instructor licence is along with the conditions that must be met to apply for the licence, plus what rules you must abide by.

What is a Trainee Driving Instructor Licence?

As a PDI (potential driving instructor), a trainee driving instructor licence may be granted to allow you to teach learner drivers for pay, for a maximum of six months. The benefits of a trainee driving instructor licence is that you can practice on real life learner drivers which will help you gain experience for passing the ADI part 3 instructional ability test. As you’ll be teaching for pay, you’ll earn a living while learning.

Should I Get a Trainee Driving Instructor Licence?

You don’t have to apply to become a trainee driving instructor, but as mentioned, the benefits of a trainee driving instructor licence is that it allows you to learn and prepare for the part 3 test while earning money.

However, it’s important to make use of the trainee licence so that it genuinely progresses your teaching ability and to not use it as a means to simply earn a living. Think of the trainee licence as an extension of your training and not a job opportunity. 

Part of the conditions of a trainee licence is that your trainer must provide an additional 20 hours of training, or that 20 percent of your lessons are supervised. Use this training or supervised feedback to ensure your instructional ability is progressing you towards passing your part 3.

Trainee Driving Instructor Licence
The pink trainee driving instructor's licence lasts for 6 months and must be displayed in the nearside of the car's windscreen
Something else to consider is that the licence lasts for six months, in which time you must pass the part 3 test. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be granted a second trainee licence. If you’ve become accustomed to earning a living via teaching learner drivers, when the six months is up and if you fail the part 3, that’s it, you income stops. Worse still is if you have given up another job to become a trainee driving instructor.

How to Qualify for a Trainee Instructor Licence

To qualify for a trainee driving instructor licence, you must:

  • Have passed both part 1 and part 2 tests.
  • Have received at least 40 hours of part 3 training from a qualified ADI.
  • Be sponsored by an ADI.
  • Be a fit and proper person.

Trainee Driving Instructor Licence Rules

  • For the licence to be granted, the trainee instructor must have received at least 40 hours of practical training from an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). The training must have taken place and completed within the 6 months prior to the issue date on the licence.
  • A further 20 hours of training or supervision on 20 percent of your lessons must be completed within the 6 month licence period.
  • The trainee must not advertise themselves as a fully qualified driving instructor.
  • The trainee instructor must only offer driving lessons from the address from the licence.
  • When providing lessons, the licence must be clearly displayed at the top-left of the car’s windscreen.

Applying for a Trainee Driving Instructor Licence

Probable the easiest way to apply for a trainee driving instructor licence is online. You can do this via the government website and takes around 30 minutes.

Alternatively you can download the ADI 3L trainee driving instructor licence application form along with the ADI 21T declaration form. Use form ADI 21T to declare that you’ve had at least 40 hours training in the giving of driving instruction within the last 6 months.

You’ll also need a recent passport style photo. Ensure you put your ADI number on the back of the photo and send the forms along with photo to:

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
Nottingham
NG1 6LP

Trainee Driving Instructor Licence Duration

A trainee driving instructor licence is valid for six months. You are generally only permitted one trainee licence and a second is is issued only under exceptional circumstances. In Northern Ireland, you are permitted two trainee licences, both with a six month term.

Trainee Driving Instructor Licence Training

Once you have received your trainee licence, ongoing training or supervision is a requirement. You can choose one of the two options:

  • Training: You must undertake at least 20 hours of additional training. The training must cover all part 3 topics and must either be completed within the first three months of the issue date of your licence, or before taking your part 3 test – whichever comes the soonest.
  • Supervision: Your trainer and sponsoring ADI must supervise at least 20 percent of the total amount of lessons you provide.

Invalid Trainee Instructor Licence

Your trainee driving instructor licence becomes invalid and it would become illegal for you to continue with paid instruction for the following reasons:

  • You fail the part 3 test for a third time.
  • The two year qualifying period from passing your part 2 test has expired.

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