Part one of the qualification process comprises two separate tests, and you are required to pass them both.
The theory test checks your knowledge of the Highway Code, general road safety, driving techniques, basic first aid knowledge and the theory of instructing a pupil. RED provides you with all the necessary training material, accessible online, and you can attempt as many mock tests as you wish on the training website to gauge your progress. The test lasts 90 minutes and you must achieve an 85 percent mark to pass.
The second test includes a hazard perception test using 14 video clips, one of which will feature two hazards. The RED training programme includes a state-of-the-art interactive video system that not only allows you to practice the test, but also reviews your performance after each attempt, helping you to recognise the hazards. On this test you must score 57 points out of a possible 75.
The second stage is an advanced practical driving test. You will be expected to demonstrate a professional level of driving ability with a DVSA examiner. RED provides study material for the test, but the main training includes 10 hours of one-to-one training with an accredited RED trainer in an appropriate tuition vehicle. The test itself lasts around an hour and includes an eye test, along with general vehicle maintenance questions.
The final stage checks your instructional ability, preparing you to be able to pass on your driving skills to others. RED will initially provide you with required hours to qualify for a trainee licence at which point you can decide to take a trainee licence or continue solely with the part three training.
The DVSA will issue you with what is, in effect, a provisional license to ‘teach for reward’. This means that you can join RED as a potential driving instructor (PDI) and begin giving actual lessons. This is an extremely effective way of honing your skills in instructional ability ahead of your part three test. It also means that you start to make a living as a driving instructor. Your trainee licence is valid for six months, and you will continue to receive 20 hours of in-car training on a one-to-one basis from a RED trainer prior to your part three test. On passing the test you can apply to be added to the DVSA register of approved driving instructors. The majority of trainees take this route.
A small number of RED trainees choose to continue their training until test-ready without the use of a trainee licence.
The part three test of instructional ability is approximately one-hour long. A DVSA examiner will watch you delivering a client centred driving lesson to one of your customers. This can be a learner or a full licence holder. The examiner will be looking for evidence that you meet the national standard for driver and rider training. You are only permitted three attempts at the part two and part three tests, so it is very important to choose the right school when deciding to train as an instructor.
This is one of the most common questions asked, but can often be the most difficult to answer. Because we all learn at different paces, some instructors pass after just six months while others will take a little longer. Factors such as your lifestyle, resources, time and commitment all play a part in how quickly you will pass.