A Driving Instructor
by Gill Sherry
Originally from Paisley, Stewart McCormack has lived in Ayr since 2015. He has three children aged 21, 13 and 8 and attends his local Boxing Gym in his spare time. That’s when he’s not helping his pupils to pass their driving tests. Ayrshire Magazine caught up with Stewart and asked him all about his rewarding career.
How long have you been a driving instructor?
About seven years.
What training did you need to do?
The training is split into three separate parts. Part 1 is essentially the theory test which has double the amount of questions and a higher pass grade requirement than the one learner drivers take. Part 2 is a driving test but with a far higher standard of driving requirement. There are only six minor faults allowed before the test is failed. Part 3 has recently changed to replicate something we call a standards check which all Approved Driving Instructors have to go through approximately every four years. Part 3 is an examined driving lesson where the instructor has to meet a minimum score requirement for various sections throughout the lesson and will then be graded by the examiner. ADIs spend every working day preparing pupils for a driving test but nothing is as nerve racking as taking a Part 3 or a standards check. If you fail three times your badge is revoked and the process can only be started from scratch again after 12 months.
What do you like best about being a driving instructor?
There are loads of positives but the best thing must be all the different people you get to know, watching them develop their skills before they literally change their lives. Another plus is that I get to sit down all day and have a decent view out the window.
Do you dislike anything about your job?
Like any job there’s plenty to complain about, cost for one thing. The worst part is when you get car trouble, it’s a real pain.
How many hours a week do you normally work?
Around 30 to 40 hours.
What time does your working day usually start?
9am, after the school run.
Can you briefly describe what a typical day involves?
Check the lesson notes for each lesson that day, make sure the car is clean (it’s always tidy) and fuelled up. Make sure I have the correct meeting point details for each pupil and check the traffic reports to see if there are any road closures.
One piece of advice for someone looking to become a driving instructor?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to experienced instructors for help and/or advice. Ask questions
What would you be if you weren’t a driving instructor?
Career highlight so far?
Whenever one of my pupils gets a first-time pass with zero minor faults. The best one was probably when I had siblings do a test on the same day and neither knew. The brother passed in the morning with a zero fault pass and his sister was later in the day with only two minor faults.
Do you have a funny story to share relating to your role?
The day is always filled with laughter usually with pupils dishing out gossip on their friends or both of us just talking random nonsense. Recently a pupil was telling me about when she went to see a clairvoyant and her dad and gran came through during a reading. As she told me this, a black cat jumped in through the open window and we both jumped and screamed. I very nearly joined her gran and her dad! Thankfully, the cat quickly jumped back out of the window!
If you had to sum up your job in one word, what would it be?