18 months ago Dawn Guerrero, 44 from Norwich, was involved in a serious car accident when another driver drove in to the side of her vehicle, leaving her with a severe shoulder injury.
The injury caused mum of two boys aged 23 and 21 to a take leave of absence from her customer service role at McDonald’s, prompting her to assess her life ambitions and deciding to work for herself.
Dawn comments: “The accident was a real shock and my shoulder injury made my job at McDonalds extremely painful. Every time I had to reach for something or hand a customer their meal I would be in a lot of discomfort. I knew I couldn’t carry on in the role but had my kids to provide for so had to find work elsewhere. I needed a new career with less physical involvement – but I never imaged I would start working in a car as a driving instructor!”
Following her accident, Dawn was left angry about the other car driving in to her. “If the driver was being road safety conscious, the accident would never have happened. At the time I felt helpless.”
Dawn continues: “I’ve always worked for others but have always had ambitions to work for myself, I just didn’t know what. After the accident, I went to see my local careers advisor. They asked me a series of questions to narrow the search down and find a job role that would be fully suitable to my lifestyle and needs and driving instructing was one of the jobs that came up.
“I liked the thought of being my own boss and being in charge of how much I worked and earned but most of all I felt I could make a real difference in helping to encourage road safety and preventing accidents like the one I was involved in”
Following her consultation Dawn did some more research in to the job and applied to a number of driving schools in which to do her instructor training.
Dawn says: “As a mum, I want my children to be safe on the road. The more people I can help and educate about road safety, the better. I loved the sound of the job but was scared about having to do a lot of learning and take exams before I could qualify. I hadn’t studied or taken any exams since I was at school and even then I wasn’t any good at them!
“I decided to fill in a load of forms and go from there and RED Driving School were the first company to get back to me. I was really impressed with their customer services over the phone. It felt like they genuinely cared about me and would help me get through all the training.”
In April 2014 while Dawn was on sick leave from McDonalds recovering from her shoulder injury, she started her driving instructor course with RED Driving School. Dawn worked with her trainer to study the written material and also learn the physical elements of teaching someone to drive. She learnt the material very quickly and passed all three of her instructor exams first time round, fully qualifying her as a driving instructor by January 2015.
Dawn has been teaching ever since and has already helped four pupils gain full driving licences, including her daughter in law.
Dawn comments: “I had an excellent trainer that really helped me to focus and learn everything I needed to and I took all his advice and feedback on board. I probably would have given up without him as I found it really tough to start with.
“I absolutely love the job, the best thing about it is the reward you receive from seeing people progress with their driving and watching their confidence grow. It’s also really fun and I really enjoy meeting and getting to know different people each day.
“Another bonus is that I am now my own boss and I don’t have to worry about asking anyone for time off anymore. I can organise my diary around my physiotherapy appointments and if I want to take a day off I can because no one’s counting! I like to think I’m helping to make a difference and encouraging my pupils to think before they get behind the wheel. Thankfully I’m still here after my accident but there are too many people who suffer much more than I did. I want to do my bit to help keep road safety at the forefront of learner’s minds.”