Invoking the spirit of our very own ‘Agony Aunt’ in the form of the lovely and well-versed Lou Walsh, we hope to provide solutions to your professional queries and answers to your industry questions…

Beginners Nerves

I’m having a wobble. I’m on a pink licence but, in all honesty, I don’t know if I’m actually enjoying it. My learners are lovely, my lessons are okay, but I don’t look forward to going to work. Is this a newbie phase?

Answer: Well done for your honesty. Firstly, I’d like to reassure you that this is a very common feeling. However, you need to spend some time analysing exactly what you’re feeling and why and, ultimately, whether there are realistic solutions. The training really is tough going for all of us, but nobody is particularly honest about this before we start! On top of that, trying to develop a new career, you now have the pressures that come with paying a franchise fee and fulfilling the terms of that contract, while also running your own business. If the support or training you’re receiving is not adequate, it’s very easy for a PDI to feel alone and a little lost. The trainee licence can also lead to many PDIs feeling thrown into this ‘job’ without the knowledge, understanding, skills and even the clear vision of the job they are now doing full-time. All this can lead to the feeling of barely surviving, let alone learning, developing and enjoying the training journey. Can you see a future where you will enjoy it and begin to know what you’re doing, one where it will give you all the things that attracted you to it in the first place? Be honest… if you gave it up, would it be a regret? If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘probably not’, then there is your answer. If the answer is ‘yes’, then there are solutions to making it better. But let me leave you with that important question to answer first.

Join the Race

I’m new to the industry and I’ve seen a few posts about The Big Learner Relay. Can you explain what it’s about and how I could get involved?
Gary, ADI

Answer: The Big Learner Relay was born out of the desire to raise money for Children in Need. A yellow, spotty instructor top box with a Pudsey Bear attached is passed on from one instructor and pupil in one town to another instructor and pupil in another town, much like a baton in a relay. It takes place over 15 days in November, travels over 3,000 miles and involved hundreds of instructors and pupils throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Jersey. It’s a massive event! Money is raised via sponsorship of spots that instructors stick on their cars, as well as numerous other fundraising activities around the country.
2019 was the 6th year of Relaying and raised £58,000, taking the total raised by the industry relay over the years to a massive £480,000 for Children in Need. It is really something we should all be proud of, and it couldn’t happen without people like you getting involved. To register your support for the 2020 Relay, get online and you can fill in the quick survey at: We look forward to having your support and participation on The Relay in 2020!

Back To School

My Standards Check is looming, and my pupil wants to learn more about driving at busier times, particularly around school pick-up times and areas. Would this be ok? It fits with the time of my test and with her ability.
Jane, ADI

Answer: I love a meaty subject! The possibilities are endless and there are plenty of skills needed when facilitating learning in an environment like this. The ability to be inspired by ‘in the moment’ situations and learning in real time with real examples are priceless. Clearly, it will be important to be in control in potentially safety critical situations, particularly involving vulnerable road users such as school aged children, youngsters on bikes and the pack mentality behaviours that can go hand in hand with pupils arriving or leaving school! So, be aware of using controlling instructions or questions to keep safe. Although the environment may be a new challenge, many of the skills your pupil has already learnt can be used. Encourage them to utilise their current knowledge and understanding and avoid over instructing. Look for a link to their own lives: Do they have children or younger siblings they will be bringing to and from school? How similar or different will it be to leaving college or a place of work at the end of the day? How does the day of the week, the weather or the time of year change the situation? They’re just a few thoughts to start you off. Sounds like my kind of hour!

Into the Fast Lane

I’ve had my first enquiry! The pupil is a full licence holder who’s wanting a confidence boost motorway lesson. Is this an ‘ok’ lesson as it’s my first?
Allen, PDI

Answer: Contrary to common belief, as a PDI you can do motorway lessons with a full licence holder. What’s your own training been like on motorways? Often a quick blast up and down a stretch of motorway with a trainer during Part 2 preparation doesn’t give someone enough knowledge, understanding and ability to then facilitate a useful, thought-provoking and appropriate lesson with someone wanting to tap into a superior source. Motorway training can be fascinating, covering details and areas of driving the average driver would never have considered. This can then have a positive impact on their enjoyment, confidence and safety. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking a motorway lesson, in its very basic form, is as simple as helping someone with their ability to lane change and overtake, with some added information about what to do if they broke down thrown in for good measure. But the reality is so much more than that. The ability to help someone overtake and ultimately boost their confidence and safety when interacting with fellow road users doesn’t just come down to a simple instruction on what mirrors to check. It’s all about HOW to observe, the skills of awareness, planning, anticipation and judgement, and HOW we do that. Most of us just do it. Now try explaining how to judge speed, the anticipation of others, distance, reactions, proactivity, rescuing, defensive driving, ‘the 5th risk’ etc to someone who has asked for your help. This is where the skills of a good instructor are called upon. If you feel you would benefit from more knowledge, understanding and ideas yourself, perhaps find an experienced ADI or advanced driver and book an hour with them yourself (we should all do that! It’s fascinating and a real eye-opener!). You may have heard of Chris Gilbert ( An ex-police trainer, he has some really useful resources and advice on advanced driving.