What are ADIs and PDIs

A driving instructor plays a crucial role in making sure that learners acquire the skills and knowledge to pass their driving test. Most importantly, they assist students in becoming safe, confident drivers on the road.

However, not all driving instructors have the same skills, qualifications, and experience. In the UK, there are two main types of driving instructors authorised to provide driving lessons – Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) and Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs).

What is a PDI?

DRIVE Driving School Instructor

PDIs are potential driving instructors, i.e. those who are still in the process of training to become ADIs. To be considered a PDI and possess a trainee licence (also known as a pink badge), you need to have passed parts one and two of the ADI test, and completed at least 40 hours of training (with at least 10 in-car hours).

Simply put, PDIs on a trainee licence are yet to have passed the final test to become an ADI.

What is a PDI qualified to do?

Being at an interim stage of their learning, a PDI is allowed some of the privileges of an ADI alongside some restrictions, in the interest of public safety.

A PDI can only offer driving lessons while they hold a trainee licence (pink badge), and if they work within an established driving school, like DRIVE Driving School.

Before PDIs can begin teaching learners, they must first obtain a trainee driving instructor licence from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). In the UK, you can apply for a trainee driving instructor licence online – these licences are only valid for 6 months.

What is an ADI?

driving instructor welcoming driving student into learner car

An ADI is a fully qualified, approved driving instructor. To qualify as an ADI, you must complete three tests set by the DVSA. The first two tests will assess your driving ability and knowledge of the Highway Code (you can apply to become a PDI on completion of these), and the third test assesses how you train learner drivers, known as the Instructional Ability Test.

Once you’ve met the requirements to become an ADI, and received your ‘green badge’ licence, you will have to meet certain requirements to maintain your ADI status.

This includes completing periodic training and undergoing a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

What is an ADI qualified to do?

ADI status means that someone is fully qualified as a driving instructor, so they can either work as part of a driving school or run their own independent business. As part of being an ADI, and display a green badge as proof of their advanced status.

What is the Instructional Ability Test?

The Instructional Ability Test (IAT) evaluates the ability to teach learners how to drive and is the third and final part of the ADI test. PDIs cannot become ADIs until they have passed all three tests, this must be done within 6 months of receiving your trainee driving instructor licence.

It’s also important to note that, if you fail the IAT three times, you must start your training again from the beginning.