The UK could be in the grip of a driving instructor shortage in the second half of 2020 and the foreseeable future. While many learner drivers are back on the road taking lessons as coronavirus lockdown measures ease, some 210,000 driving tests were cancelled or delayed because of the pandemic. Here’s what we know…
A combination of lockdown restrictions and a slump in the number of registered driving instructors means that the UK is likely to see a nationwide driving instructor shortage.
Research conducted by car insurer provider, Marmalade, suggests that finding an instructor with availability could prove challenging for new learner drivers.
With more people choosing to move away from public transport to learn to drive, demand for driving instructors has increased. Marmalade’s research analysed the potential number of new young learners, based on the number of people turning 17, and compared the figure to the number of registered approved driving instructors (ADIs).
Data Makes for Grim Reading
Although COVID-19 has inevitably caused delays in recent months, demand for driving instructors is only set to increase based on Marmalade’s data.
Based on official data from the Department for Transport (DfT), which shows that there are 39,521 registered ADIs in the UK as of the start of 2020 and data showing that 695,549 people will turn 17-years-old in 2020, Marmalade predicts that there will be a huge shortfall in driving instructor availability.
The maths shows that this equates to 17.59 learner drivers per instructor and the learner per instructor ratio is expected to rise even further based on new learner drivers that are 18+.
In addition to the 695,549 people who will turn 17 in 2020, nearly 1.3 million drivers aged 18 and over took their practical driving test in the year up to April 2020. This could compound the driving instructor shortage if this trend continues.
Driving Instructor Numbers Falling
DfT data shows that driving instructor registrations have dropped by 12% over the past seven years. In 2013, the number of registered ADIs stood at 44,569, by the start of 2020 this number had dropped to 39,521. In the coming years, this number is expected to drop even further.
Based on current trends, it’s predicted that the number of driving instructors on the road by 2025 could drop to around 38,000. This is because some driving instructors will retire or switch careers.
For learner drivers, this means that finding an instructor will get more and more difficult with every year that passes.
Driving instructor at Driving Instructor TV, Louis Walsh, said: “As an industry, COVID-19 has hit us hard. Being unable to work for 14 weeks has really taken its toll and returning to work, although welcomed, has been made challenging for a number of reasons.”
Marmalade CEO, Crispin Moger, said: “To support your driving instructor, we urge learners to be on time for lessons with their mask as required, and to cancel their lesson with as much notice as possible if they display any symptoms.”
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