Driving Instructor Interview
Headshot of Neil Wrightman, Y2 Learn Driver Training

Neil Wrightman Y2 Learn Driver Training & regional partner for Caledonian Learner Driver Training

Neil Wrightman on his career, advice for PDIs and thoughts on the future of driving.

Neil Wrightman, regional partner for Caledonian Learner Driver Training, sits down with GoRoadie to talk industry, gives advice to PDIs and talks about his thoughts on the future of the industry.

Hi, Neil. Thanks for joining us. How long have you been an ADI??

I qualified has an Adi on the 26th July 2008, so I’ve been an driving instructor for 11 years thoroughly enjoying my time teaching and coaching people to reach their potential.

What did you do before becoming an ADI?

Before coming a driving instructor I was working as a manager at a well known supermarket chain in their distribution centre , where I didn’t entirely agree with their policies, so that was the main reason for looking to follow my goal of being self employed. At the same time I served as a retained firefighter on call alongside the whole time fire crews. I did attend various incidents which gave me lots of experiences which I can use within my training as a driving instructor.

My biggest achievement was attaining my ten year plan that I had set myself.

Why did you become an ADI?

It seemed to be the right time to take control of my own career path, I had just retired from the fire service after serving 17 years, and I thought I could put my experiences to good use share them with prospective new drivers and change attitudes, with this generally wanted something to challenge me more.

A photo from a Tri-Coaching training workshop

What is your biggest achievement in your career so far?

My biggest achievement was attaining my ten year plan that I had set myself, that was to qualify as a driving instructor, become fleet registered and ORDIT registered. In that time l also won the driving instructor association, training hero of the year in 2018

For learners, before they get in a car for your first lesson what 3 things would you like them to know?

To me, the theory of driving is about taking responsibility for your own learning

This question I find very interesting, because its very open especially in today's training environments with it being client centred. So firstly I would like them to understand about the fatal four (drink & drugs, speeding, seatbelts, mobile phones) which are the four common killers with regard to distraction, and I often include a video in an email about these.

Secondly I would like them to have at least started to study or starting to study for the theory test , one thing I believe should happen is it should be added to the school curriculum and possibly a test taken before getting issued a provisional licence .

Thirdly, I would like them and the parents to understand that it’s a skill for life that’s being taught so it shouldn’t be rushed just to get a licence, there are many aspects to driving not just control of the vehicle, but things like behaviours and attitudes and how emotions affect what we do has human beings, may be that’s a bit much to expect, but the GDE (Goals for Driver Education) is something that I add to my training.

In the next 5 years, what do you think will be the biggest change in the industry?

I hope we will continue with client centred learning. I would like to see the Goals for Driver Education (GDE) matrix being brought in, to see pupils take more responsibility.

Within the next five years one of the biggest changes will be how tests are conducted and I know that change is on its way with the introduction of test marked on the iPad and results send via email. I also think that graduated licences may come in to play. I would really like CPD for instructors made compulsory as well , due to the constant changes within the DVSA and car manufactures.

In your experience, what are the top 5 traits of an ADI?

The best ADIs, in my opinion, are the best coaches. I have to take this from coaching skills.

  1. Create a safe environment for learning.
  2. Build a rapport with your learner.
  3. Use Active listening and know when not to talk.
  4. Have Patience - let students develop their own ideas and thoughts.
  5. Being Business aware. turning up on time and creating a good impression.

What’s your advice for new PDIs?

My advice to anyone or any PDIs is to make sure you have a quality trainer that is ORDIT registered Join a association like ADINJC or DIA for the support they can offer, join your local driving instructor association where you live if can offer benefits or just being able to talk to someone and get queries answered.

Constantly look to keep improving once you’ve qualified make the most of training courses out there, with reference to tri-Coaching partnership BTEC level 4 coaching for driver development, this has been invaluable for me . Gave me the skills to be a really good coach.

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Neil Wrightman is looking for new instructors to join Y2 Learn Driver Training & regional partner for Caledonian Learner Driver Training across the UK. Find out more about becoming an ADI here.

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