Tuesday, 29 May 2007

How can we sharpen the DSA's teeth?

The driver training industry is full of contradictions. (Just look on the forums, or as 3 driving instructors how to reverse park, or 3 ADI trainers whether you can pass a cyclist on the zigzag lines approaching a pedestrian crossing!)

One of the biggest of these is how Driving Instructors feel about the DSA.

On one hand we complain that they do nothing about Instructor Training companies who promise seemingly impossible rewards, but then complain that the part 3 exam has too low a pass rate!

So the question has to be asked - how can we help the DSA sharpen it's teeth, without having it bite us?

One suggestion could be to encourage the ORDIT scheme to become mandatory, not just for companies, but for every individual ADI who is paid to provide ADI training.

Another is to ensure that ADI's who break the Code of Practice can be check tested and put on probation until they prove that they are able to follow the code.

Another suggestion could be that all ADI's must follow a progressive CPD program which ensures that the public understand what level of experience an ADI has, and what they are paying for.

But when would those teeth start to draw blood? Would one complaint from a disgruntled customer put an ADI's career (and income, house and possibly marraige) at risk?

Would a new entrant to the business be able to gain work when competing with less enthusiastic or less ambitious ADI's who have simply been in the industry longer?

Would an ADI trainer be able to get through ORDIT without help from a potential competitor?

Where should the lines be drawn?

Personally I think there are far too many of us who complain about the DSA, without understanding why they exist. They exist in the main to ensure that those on the road are capable of driving safely - all the rest of it is simply politics.

All ADI trainers should be on ORDIT, but the regulations should be made simpler, with step by step assessment of their capabilities - for each assessment (and it's attendant cost) they should gain part of their accreditation.

All ADIs should have to accept and stick to the Code of Practice, but the complaints procedure must be made as open and accountable as possible allowing each party to put their view before action is taken.

All ADIs should have to follow a CPD program which follows a clear path (or paths) allowing (and enabling) instructors to work towards their own goals.

And don't even get me started on franchise agreements and their use and abuse - from both sides of the contract.

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