Off Road 4×4 Instructor Training
Are 4×4 instructor courses adequate or legal?
Training to be a 4×4 or Off Road Instructor is something that many recreational offroaders think will lead to their dream job, and many candidates on our off-road courses are interested in whether they could become instructors themselves.
We felt that we needed to write this page as we wanted to make sure that people really understood what the legalities and realities are surrounding 4×4 instruction.
There are a lot of 4×4 instructor courses out there which claim to qualify you as a 4×4 instructor. While these courses may give you experience in driving off-road and some help with how to show a novice what to do in certain situations, they will not allow you to do it as a job.
Professional off-road instructors have a sound basis in instructional techniques, excellent knowledge of the H&S legislation surrounding driving at work and full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the whole range of 4×4 vehicles.
In order to train anyone in how to use a 4×4 (on road or off) you must first qualify as a Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor (DSA ADI). If you are not a DSA ADI then if you offer instruction in a category B vehicle (any 4×4 effectively) for money (or money’s worth) then strictly speaking, you are breaking the law (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/49/schedule/6 and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/123. Both BORDA and LANTRA run 4×4 Instructor qualification processes, though if you are not an ADI these may only be relevant if you intend to instruct on a voluntary basis. Charging for instruction, or using the qualifications as part of a job is not possible without being a DSA registered ADI. (see the recent correspondence we received from the DSA regarding the legality of 4×4 instruction.)
Though some training providers may argue there are legal grey areas, you may find yourself being prosecuted and in the event of an accident you would be fully liable and may not be insured. If things go really badly you could find yourself being sued for large quantities of money with no backup from the people who said they would insure you before they found out you were acting illegally.
Unfortunately, most of the training providers do not tell you this. Some of these companies will actually tell you that being an ADI is not a legal requirement – to put it simply, they’re being economic with the truth and all you have to do is ask yourself why? They’re trying to sell you a course – yes, even the household names who should (and actually do) know better. Currently, Lantra-Awards, NPTC and BORDA are all aware of the requirement for instructors to be ADIs, but despite some positive moves, none of them are insisting their instructors comply with the law. Some organisations quote various exemptions and even try to interpret the law to their own ends, however, none of them have been given any exemption from the legislation and we question why they feel that they are unable to meet the simple, but rigorous, criteria that registration requires of instructors.
If you want any clarification on this, just get in touch with the Driving Standards Agency – the government organisation who administer the register of Approved Driving Instructors. If you’re not on the register, you can’t charge for instruction.
Have a look at some more information on who LANTRA, BORDA and the DSA are.
If you are interested in becoming a 4×4 instructor, have a look at one of our blogs:
Training to be a 4×4 instructor – this article outlines all of the stages that our trainers went through in order to become off-road instructors – a long and expensive process.
The job itself is great, but there’s much more importance placed on Health & Safety and risk assessments than throwing 4x4s off cliffs. Professional operators need to know exactly what they should be doing with reference to all of the relevant legislation. Recreational off-roaders need to know all of the relevant techniques to ensure that they don’t kill themselves or anyone else!
- 5 years off-road driving experience
- Wide knowledge of transmissions, differentials and other fitted equipment on a variety of different vehicles
- Instructional techniques (for those not qualified as ADIs, a PTLLS certificate or similar is ideal)
- First Aid qualification
- H&S qualification (ideally level two, such as the IOSH Managing Safely qualification)
- Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor registration (unless working outside the UK, or as a volunteer trainer within the charity sector)
We can provide a 4×4 instructor course for in-house assessors or instructors where required, and we are more than happy to offer advice, guidance and assistance to anyone looking to become an instructor, or who requires staff or organisation members to become qualified as instructors under any of the national certification schemes.
In-house 4×4 Instructor Course/Assessor Training:
- Lantra-Awards 4×4 Professional Off-Road Driving course – we deliver this over 2 days to candidate instructors and use both permanent 4wd vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender, as well as the more common selectable 2-4wd pick-up trucks.
- Basic training skills, such as EDIP, levels of instruction or similar method of training candidates in new skill aquisition (1 day) – can be omitted for clients only requiring assessor training, to avoid the ADI registration requirement
- Assessment, fault finding, analysis and remedial action (1 day)
- Session planning, site risk assessment and criteria based training assessment (1 day)
Potential candidates for our 4×4 Instructor courses will be expected to have extensive experience in off-road vehicles and environments, and an excellent all-round knowledge of transmissions, differentials, diff-locks and vehicle equipment. We would also anticipate candidates having excellent communication skills and training or supervising experience, preferably with formal training in instruction/assessment.
At Beyond Driving, we have helped many off-road experienced ADIs to become Lantra-Awards instructors, and trained instructors for national and international organisations and companies.
If you still want to be a 4×4 instructor, or are already an ADI and want to bring your off-road experience into your career, we would love to hear from you: