Develop your skills, knowledge and understanding
In any profession, those at the top of their game make sure that they keep up to date with what’s going on in their industry. As a motorbike instructor, you will need to keep up to date with changes to road rules and riding practices, so that what you pass on to your learners is correct. In addition, you should keep up to date with training industry issues and recognise when you need to update your skills, knowledge and understanding.
One way to do this is to join an industry association. Another way is to talk to other instructors in your approved training body (ATB), or join an online forum.
Once you’ve identified a training need, you can plan to meet it. This might be by attending a training course, but equally it might be by reading up on a subject and trying things out for yourself. You will know how you prefer to learn.
Keeping a reflective log is a good way of monitoring your own progress. Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of being a motorbike trainer. The skills and knowledge you’ll need to teach your pupils change over time, as do the motorcycle tests and the way riding is taught. To give your pupils the best chance of becoming safe and responsible riders and passing their tests, you’ll need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. It’s also important to show your pupils that you’re still improving your skills: no one ever really finishes learning to ride.
There are different levels of qualification for motorbike trainers so you can build up your qualifications over time. See the Becoming a trainer section for more information.
Client-centred learning is an approach that’s being used increasingly in the riding tuition industry. It’s a way of teaching that puts the focus on the learner, as these core principles show.
- Actively listen to what your pupils are trying to tell you about what’s getting in the way of their learning so you’ll be well equipped to help them achieve their learning goals.
- Do not hide behind a façade, patronise your pupils or pretend to be something you’re not. Your pupils will be much more likely to be willing to listen to you, and share their problems, if you’re ‘real’.
- Show them you trust that they’re trying to be constructive and find solutions. Your pupils will be much more likely to take your advice and guidance if you accept and respect who they are.
You may already be following these principles at least some of the time. The more you use this approach, the more effective your instruction is likely to be. There are lots of different techniques for managing learning in a client-centred way: this is an area you could explore in your professional development.
Special test for instructors
As part of your CPD, you can take a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) special test, which will test your skills to the highest standards and demonstrate your commitment to CPD. This test is only available to fully qualified instructors and includes a test of your general riding skills and manoeuvres.
To be able to take the test, you must be one of the following:
- a Cardington-assessed compulsory basic training (CBT) instructor
- a direct access scheme trainer
- a registered post-test motorcycle trainer (RPMT).
Running an approved training body
An approved training body (ATB) can provide
- CBT for learner riders
- direct access scheme training to riders learning to ride a large motorbike.
The training must be given by instructors who’ve been certified by DVSA and who work for your ATB. The site you use to provide training must also be approved by DVSA.
There’s more information about running your own business on the next page in this section.