Motorcycle instructors teach people how to ride safely on motorcycles and prepare them for both practical on-road riding and theory tests to get their licence.
You could be:
- checking a new pupil's driving licence is in order, and testing their eyesight by asking them to read car number plates in the car park
- in a classroom, explaining the aims of the training course, the correct clothing to wear for safety (such as boots, helmet, visible jackets, leathers and waterproofs) and other equipment required
- covering the legal aspects of riding a motorcycle, highway code theory and regulations, and safety procedures
- taking the pupil to a training pad (usually a car park) to explain how the motorcycle works, the controls and how to handle and balance the motorcycle
- explaining to the pupil how to carry out basic checks on the motorcycle
- showing the pupil how to control the motorcycle, such as clutch control, pulling away, and basic manoeuvres such as turning in the road or emergency stops
- going out on the road with the pupil, showing how to safely approach junctions, crossroads, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings
- taking out either single riders or groups of riders on the road
- if working in a training centre, teaching other instructors how to teach compulsory basic training (known as 'down training').
You could be teaching people who have just passed their test, wanting to upgrade to a bigger motorcycle, returning to riding after a break, or wanting to bring their skills up to date.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Fully qualified instructors can earn between £24,000 and £27,000 a year. This can rise to around £30,000 a year or more depending on which qualifications you have.
Hourly rates to charge pupils can be around £30 an hour for 50cc or 125cc motorcycles, and £35 to £40 an hour for larger motorcycles such as a 650cc.
- You may work varied hours, including the evenings and weekends.
- You will spend your time between teaching in a classroom and out on the road with pupils.
- You have to teach people who may be nervous and require reassurance.
- The work may be stressful at times, and there is a risk of being involved in traffic accidents.
- You will be riding in all weathers with pupils, to teach them how to ride safely in these conditions.
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- You need to have a motorcycle instructor qualification approved by the DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency).
- You should be aged 21 or over and hold a full category A or A2 British motorcycle licence for at least 3 years.
- You should be employed by a DVSA approved training body (ATB).
- There are two routes to becoming a fully qualified compulsory basic training (CBT) motorcycle instructor.
- The first is to train as a Down-trained CBT instructor. This allows you to deliver compulsory basic training to learners. Learner motorcycle and moped riders must take compulsory basic training before riding on the road.
- The second is to qualify as a DVSA assessed CBT instructor. This allows you to deliver CBT and down-train up to 10 other instructors.
- Once qualified as a DVSA CBT instructor you can qualify as a Direct Access Scheme (DAS) Instructor. DAS instructors train riders over the age of 24 to ride on bigger motorcycles over 125cc, through DVSA's Direct Access Scheme (see 'More Information' below). They also down-train other instructors.
- Some employers may ask for a car driving licence.
You can find jobs on the internet, advertised on individual riding school websites. As well as advertising for instructors at all levels, they usually offer instructor training. Many advertise vacancies for trainee instructors.
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What Does it Take?
You should have:
- good verbal communication skills for explaining and giving instructions to others
- good people skills
- patience and understanding
- thorough knowledge of theory and practice of riding
- good working knowledge of motorcycles
- teaching ability
- awareness of changes in regulations for motorcycle tests as well as riding instructions
- a positive and flexible attitude
- a good sense of safety and responsible attitude.
- Becoming a down trained instructor involves taking a 5-day training course at your training centre. Training is ongoing until you reach the required standard. You would learn how to deliver lessons and how to conduct on-road training.
- For DVSA assessed CBT instructor training, you attend a 3-day training course at your training centre, and then take the 2-day assessment at DVSA's centre in Cardington, Bedfordshire.
- To get your CBT1D certificate to become a DAS instructor involves a 2-day in-house training course before taking a half-day assessment at DVSA's training and development centre in Cardington, Bedfordshire. You then update your registration with DVSA once you have passed.
- You can apply to join the voluntary Register of Post-test Motorcycle Trainers to become a Post-test motorcycle trainer (RMPT). This allows you to train qualified motorcyclists to improve their skills and to teach the Enhanced Riding Scheme (see 'Further Information' below).
- There are two ways to qualify as a RMPT trainer.
- The first option is to pass 3 qualifying tests (theory test, riding test and instruction ability test) which would cost around £300.
- The second option is to pass a theory test and complete a training course accredited by DVSA. You must do the training course within 2 years of passing the theory test. You have to do it all over again if you don't.
- Once you are a fully qualified instructor, you can have your skills tested to the highest standard by taking the DVSA special test. This shows your commitment to continuing professional development.
- Joining the RMTP register advertises your advanced level of training and allows you to teach experienced riders looking for advanced training, such as the enhanced rider scheme.
- Many motorcycle instructors work on a franchise basis for a company or establish their own training centre.
- If you are self-employed you usually need to provide a motorcycle for your pupils to practise on and ensure that it meets the correct standard. Pupils can use their own motorcycles to learn on if they choose, however it is better for you to provide a motorcycle for insurance purposes.
- The DVSA Direct Access Scheme (DAS) does not restrict motorcycle size, and allows people over the age of 24 to get a full Category A motorcycle licence without first needing to hold a licence for 2 years for a smaller motorcycle.
- Joining the register of post-test motorcycle trainers (RPMT) allows you to teach riders holding a full licence who have just passed their test, are upgrading to a bigger motorcycle, are returning to riding after a break or want to bring their skills up to date.
- The enhanced rider scheme checks your motorcycle riding skills and provides training to help you improve. There is no test. It's suitable for people who have just passed their test, or returning to riding, or are upgrading to a more powerful motorcycle.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Tel: 0300 200 1122
The DVSA replaced the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in April 2014. Its aim is to promote road safety through improving driving standards, testing drivers, motorcyclists and driving instructors, maintaining the registers of Approved Driving Instructors and Large Goods Vehicle Instructors and supervising training for learner motorcyclists.
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