Difference Between a Trainee and Fully Qualified Driving Instructor

There are currently a little over 38,370 fully qualified driving instructors throughout the UK and a little over 1,100 trainee instructors. Here, we’re going to explain what the difference is between a fully qualified driving instructor and a trainee driving instructor along with how to tell the difference.

Fully Qualified Driving Instructor

To become a fully qualified driving instructor, or ‘ADI’ (Approved Driving Instructor), there are three tests, known as part 1, part 2 and part 3 that must be passed. These three tests are:

  1. Part 1: ADI theory test
  2. Part 2: Driving standards test
  3. Part 3: Instructional ability

Once all three tests are passed, an ADI is then assigned a grade and must undergo a standards check every few years. The ADI grading structure is as follows:

  • A grade (85% or over) – an overall high standard of instruction
  • B grade (60% or over) – a sufficient level of competence
  • Fail (less than 60%) – an unsatisfactory performance

How Can I Tell if the Instructor is Fully Qualified?

The DVSA issues all driving instructors with licenses. The difference between a fully qualified driving instructor compared to a trainee, is that the fully qualified instructor’s licence is green. The licence must be clearly on display and attached to the inside of the front windscreen. A fully qualified driving instructor’s licence looks like the following:

Front of driving instructor's (ADI) green licence
The front of a fully qualified driving instructor’s licence is green in colour and displays an octagonal shape

Front of ADI Licence

An ADI’s licence is green and the front displays an octagonal shape along with the licence expiry date. This side of the licence can be seen from outside of the driving instructor’s car.

 

Back of driving instructor's (ADI) green licence
The back of a fully qualified driving instructor’s (ADI) licence displays their ADI number, name, photo and valid to and expiry dates

Back of ADI Licence

An ADI’s licence back displays their unique ADI number, name, identity photo and the dates in which the licence is valid from and when it expires.

Trainee Driving Instructor

A trainee driving instructor, or ‘PDI’ (Potential Driving Instructor) can apply for a a licence which if granted, enables them to teach for pay for up to 6 months. It’s up to the trainee instructor on whether they wish to apply for this licence or not, but many do as the ability to teach provides valuable experience.

In order for a trainee instructor to obtain a licence, they must be sponsored by a fully qualified instructor (ADI) and to have completed the following:

  1. Pass the part 1 test
  2. Pass the part 2 test
  3. Have had at least 40 hours of part 3 training from a qualified driving instructor

How Can I Tell if the Instructor is a Trainee?

The difference between a trainee driving instructor compared to a fully qualified instructor, is that the trainee instructor’s licence is pink. As with an ASI, the licence must be clearly on display and attached to the inside of the front windscreen. A trainee driving instructor’s licence looks like the following:

Front of trainee driving instructor's pink licence
The front of a trainee driving instructor’s licence is pink in colour and displays a triangle shape

Front of Trainee Driving Instructor Licence

A trainee driving instructor’s licence is pink and the front displays an triangular shape. This side of the licence can be seen from outside of the driving instructor’s car.

Back of trainee driving instructor's pink licence
The back of a trainee driving instructor’s licence displays their, name, photo, instructor and licence number and valid to and expiry dates

Back of Trainee Driving Instructor Licence

The back of a trainee driving instructor’s licence displays their name, photo, licence valid and expiry dates and the driving school and ADI number of the sponsor.

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