About Phil Hirst
Phil Hirst has been providing professional training, training materials, coaching and consultancy for potential and qualified driving instructors throughout the UK for many years.
My Training Philosophy
I have always believed in searching out the best training I can to develop myself as a driving and teaching professional. It’s never been the case of obtaining qualifications and certificates; it’s always been about learning from experts and my peers to continue to develop my knowledge, skills and understanding to be able to do my roles to the best of my ability.
Quality training is an absolute prerequisite to keep up with current best practice and maintain standards. The introduction of the Standards Check (SC) in 2014, caught many experienced driving instructors by surprise. A client-centred approach, not instructor-led, is now expected by DVSA on their regular assessments of instructors. Teaching effectively, managing any risks and involving our students in the learning process, leads to more responsible, self-aware and safer drivers.
Value for Money
Committing to regular training to develop knowledge and skills, improve profitability and streamline your business, is surely an investment and not a cost. The long-term benefits of regular training is hard to quantify in terms of profit and loss. Without it, we are unlikely to advance and fulfil our potential. The self-belief, confidence and motivation it engenders can be priceless and far-reaching, aside from the pool of talent we meet along the way, who can become useful contacts in the future.
I have strived to deliver training which is value for money for my clients. This meant finding out what their goals and needs were and how I could help my clients to achieve them.
Proven Track Record
A quarter of a century of teaching and training driving instructors has taught me that each student is an individual with fears, doubts, strengths, weaknesses and, in almost every case, a willingness to learn. After training over 600 potential instructors to join the ADI Register and over 200 ADIs to become ADI trainers, I have concluded that no one knows it all and none of us can sit back and relax (not before retirement, anyway!). There is always room for improvement.
Most of my clients, I am pleased to say, also embraced this life-long learning philosophy. I know this because many have returned for development training with me or other agencies.
The Importance of Feedback
We teach in a “small bubble” with students who are rarely able to give us detailed and accurate feedback on our teaching ability. For most, this only occurs once every 2-6 years when DVSA come calling on a SC. For the rest of the time we assume we are doing a good job if our students like us, stay with us, and pass their driving test at some point. Technically-speaking, our standards can deteriorate and we might not notice it until it’s too late, for instance, when an examiner says we’ve failed our SC.
My role helping instructors prepare for their periodic DVSA assessment is the most important work I do, to help them teach more effectively and stay in business.
My other roles within the driver training industry are:
- Preparing members of the public to pass their ADI qualifying exams (parts 1, 2 and 3)
- Teaching ADIs how to train their own instructors effectively so that they can increase their income and grow their driving schools
- Preparing ADI trainers for the ORDIT inspection
- Rescue training for ADIs and PDIs who have failed a SC
- Delivering bespoke, classroom-based courses to groups of ADIs
- Writing instructor training workbooks and presenters
- Recording online training material for my clients to view in their spare time
- Chairman of the Harrogate Association of Approved Driving Instructors
- NDORS trainer (NSAC and NMAC)
Variety – the “Spice of Life”
Though it’s not for every instructor, I have found that varying my roles within the driving instructor industry has kept things fresh and interesting. A bonus has been if one income stream is drying up there have been others that I could rely on.
If, like me, you’ve found teaching learner drivers very worthy but a bit repetitive, it might be time to broaden your horizons and look for a new challenge. Though it has many faults, the driver training profession offers many opportunities for personal and business development if you search for them.