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At the age of 50 I retired from East Down College where I had worked for almost 24 years. I’m not a person who can sit about, although my wife might say different. I had taken a few of my teacher friends’ sons and daughters out on driving lessons, so I decided to train to become an ADI.
This was a walk on the dark side as I would be (pardon the pun ) taken for a ride by several so called trainers.
The first step was to look in my local yellow pages. What a lot of trainers. I rang the one with the biggest advert. Oh what a mistake. I was invited to an assessment morning at a cost of £50. Really enjoyed this and especially at the end I was told that I would make a good driving instructor. The next part was arranging to meet my trainer at a given time and place to hand over £1250 cash for one weeks training. The reason for the cash was to avoid VAT. Paid by any other means it would have been 17.5% extra.
The first day of training come and 6 others turned up so we were put into two cars, three in one and four in the other. I make that a total of £8750. Not bad for a weeks’ work for 2 people if you can get it.
At lunchtime on the Friday we were told that we should qualify in about 8 weeks’ time and were given the opportunity of taking extra lessons at £40 an hour. Remember this was 6 years ago. A bit expensive or what? To my sickening disgust I found out that when I sat part 1 I was not in the least prepared. A lot of home study went in and I eventually passed. Sat part two and again I failed.
At this point I was absolutely fuming, I had just thrown away £1250 and believe me I couldn’t afford to.
On to my second trainer, a very nice chap who took me on a drive on the test route and cleared up a few minor faults. I then was successful in passing part 3. Lessons with him were £35 an hour with a lesson lasting 2 hours. Wayhay I am on to my part three training, this should be a walk in the park as I had been teaching people who struggled with basic maths and English. I booked a session to get to grips with what the examiner would be looking for. I thought I had lost my grip. This was going to be a lot harder than I imagined so I went for session after session and had to buy my trainer cups of tea /coffee and buns each time he required a break. Then followed his smoke break. All this was being paid for me. I failed part 3 three times.
God loves a tryer and I was not about to give up. I sat my parts 1 & 2 again and passed first time. Now I had to try to find a decent trainer who knew what they were doing.
I went on to the DVA website and chose at random a chap fairly local to the test area in Belfast. A very nice chap who was obsessed with the briefings and rather than him having planned my lesson he would always do briefings followed by “now what do you want to do?”
During this time I did some searching the web and came up with Smartdriving.co.uk and I read about John Farlam. Now this was interesting, so I subscribed to his weekly news letter and booked a three day training session with him in Boyle Co. Roscommon. Did I get my eyes opened or what? He didn’t only train me as a driving instructor but trained me as to my way of thinking about ones self. This was what I call an approach to the whole person. I only had one more go at part 3 and unfortunately due to an extreme bout of nerves I failed again. This didn’t put me off and I remained a fan of John’s method of teaching.
Back and successfully passed part’s 1 & 2 again. I tried to book another refresher session with John but due to work commitments in England he was unable to take me but recommended Jim Doyle from Foyle Driving School in Derry.
I live 100 mile from Derry, so I set off @ 6.20am on a very snowy January morning. I had arranged to meet Jim in my favourite coffee place “Starbucks” so there was an incentive – A coffee and a croissant – met Jim and immediately thought “ this man could be John’s brother”.
Down with the coffee and on to the road. Well was I pleasantly surprised, this man knew what he was talking about and used similar methods to John. His favourite phrases were “LOOK AT ME” “SAY WHAT YOU SEE”. I tried to wing it but Jim always saw through me and it was back to his favourite phrases. Two 4 hour sessions with Jim was enough to pass me at part 3.
All together I must have spent at least £10,000 on training over the past number of years. Only a very small percentage was spent on John and Jim. For their work with me I am truly grateful.
Today I received my ADI number and have my signage on my car.
My tip for you is use these two men and success will come your way. I know I will probably never recoup the money wasted on so called trainers and the sooner Training is regulated the better.
Thank you both, you have made an old dog very happy when I look outside and see my name on the roof sign on my car.

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