You can listen to Chris's episode on Apple, Spotify, Google and more.
Chris Bensted is NOT just a driving instructor.
Despite what he says.
Chris is the co-founder of The Driving Instructor and Trainers collective, the signposting point for the industry. He also started the first ever Facebook group for driving instructors – I’m an ADI/PDI and I’m on Facebook.
Chris can often be found on various local and national news channels discussing the industry and the latest goings on for driving instructors.
As well as running a driving school with multiple franchisees, Chris also now does 1:1 theory training via zoom, working particularly with those who have dyslexia, autism, and memory issues.
In this episode Chris describes himself as a conversational instructor and I loved this phrase. I’ve used it to describe myself ever since. This description seems apt as Chris recalls tales of asking examiner not to call him Christopher as it makes him think he is in trouble and the time he played the Imperial march when the examiners entered the waiting room.
Chris is also a big believer that instructors should work with students, helping them, rather than telling them. So much so that he took a course in NLP – neuro linguistic programming, to assist him in his nurturing of students.
This lead to him taking a different approach to the driving test, compared to many instructors, including trying to desensitise the test centre and using phases like “we’re going pass the test centre” to put his students at ease.
He also explains how he learned not to assume that learners and instructors are not already experts. At the test centres, you can meet instructors from a whole world of different back grounds, whether that is a doctor, lawyer, or builder.
When talking about driving instructors, Chris talks a lot about minimum standards and how he considers what he does, not as going above and beyond, but actually what we all should be doing. Not just for our students, but for the industry.
He talks about being handed a green badge and being told that we teach learner drivers, but how the world is much bigger than that and opportunities are so much bigger than that. He discusses how he just keen for instructors to me a positive influence.
We also discuss how ADI are, by default, self-employed. We may not set out to be, but that’s just how the industry is. So, as well as teaching people to drive we also need to look at accounts, marketing, advertising, social media, counselling…
Chris also makes some interesting points discussing whether driving instructors are actually necessary, explaining how there’s no evidence to show that driving instructors actually help the process.
The DITC is a platform for driving instructors to come together and was forged during the 2020 lockdown after the DVSA drew a line in the sand, essentially not offering driving instructors the support and guidance they required.
From there it continues to grow, not least by providing regular news features for The Instructor Podcast, but also by taking the initiative and linking up with The Queer box to provide LGTBQ+ training for the driving instructor industry.
The DITC has also been creating badges to try to encourage instructors to be more active, these include a member’s badge, founder member badge, CPD badge and a start up badge aimed at those who have an idea but perhaps are not sure how to go about it. They can be linked with people who have that knowledge and skillset, whether that be graphic design or helping to create video intros and outros.
There are some great rewards for being a member of the DITC, including getting a student card for instructors, which give you all the perks you’d expect from a student card, which should save you more than the £6 monthly membership fee.
Chris’s final pieces of advice:
Read the contract before you sign it, and be open to change!
You can find out more about the DITC here: https://linktr.ee/TheDITC inculding how to sign up, social media and their podcast.