4×4 Instructor Training Courses

Thinking of becoming an off road 4×4 driving instructor?

We’ve started seeing a lot of people searching for this and finding one or another of our websites, so we thought we’d better give a bit of info. This article is an expansion of a previous 4×4 Instructor Training article on another website.

First things first – there’s currently a big problem with the legality of much off road instruction. Recent legislation has superceded some exemptions that 4×4 trainers had to teach people to drive cars when they were off road. The new legislation mean that unless you are a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor you cannot train anyone in how to drive a ‘motor car’ (this has been interpreted quite simply as a category B vehicle – anything up to 3.5 tonnes, so all 4x4s which don’t require an LGV or HGV licence are included, from crossovers, through pick-ups to big expedition vehicles), all it needs for you to break this law is for you to be paid in some way for driving advice. So, step number one:

  • Become a Driving Instructor

Just as a warning – this is neither easy nor cheap! (the majority of ADIs have paid around £3k to qualify)
From here you need to decide which of the qualification bodies you wish to work with. We had a good look at all of the options (even to the point of starting with the other main option, but becoming disillusioned with the process and the organisation) and decided that the most professional of the main 2 was LANTRA.
Before even considering becoming a LANTRA trainer you must have over 5 years of 4×4 driving experience and hold a valid first aid certificate.
So, step number 2:

This is usually a 2 day course, though for someone who has had some formal off road training, or can prove their experience through use this may be reduced to 1 day.
From here you will need to complete some kind of Health & Safety or risk assessment training – for ADIs the DVSA Fleet qualification may be accepted, however a formal NEBOSH or IOSHH course would be preferable. Then you will need to satisfy LANTRA of your instructional ability. This step is covered if you are an ADI, though some classroom training is worthwhile (often recommended before instructor status is given). If you aren’t an ADI you will need to go to step 3:

  • Take the LANTRA 4/5 day instructional techniques course

Which again – is not cheap.
Once you have satisfied LANTRA of your knowledge and instructional abilities, you will need to go to step 4:

  • Take the LANTRA 4×4 instructors 2 day Technical Standards Verification course.

Again – they don’t do this for free.
After satisfying the TSV that you are competent to teach the course (not a foregone conclusion by the way – only 2 of the 3 on the TSV course I attended passed), you will then need to head to step 5:

  • Register as a LANTRA instructor

You guessed it – there’s an administration fee and there’s another one at step 6:

  • Register as a LANTRA training provider

If you want to offer the courses through your own company – something which most trainers want to do, unless they have managed to find a job as an instructor with a training provider (hen’s teeth, gold dust and rocking horse droppings are usually more common than these jobs, sorry guys).
Once you’ve done all of this, you are ready to provide 4×4 training.
As long as you have a LANTRA approved off road site to do them on.
If you haven’t got one of these, you’ll have to ask LANTRA to assess the land you intend to use to do the courses – and that doesn’t come free either.
Once you’ve jumped through all of these hoops you deserve to be an instructor!
There’s a reason for all of these assessments – LANTRA instructors are expected to train to the highest possible professional standards. This is a professional health and safety risk assessment and integrated training course designed for vocational operators and 4×4 drivers who actually do use their vehicles in the workplace – there are no amateurs or volunteers in LANTRA.
Oh and once you pass – you’ll be inspected on a regular basis (and you may be expected to take further training in order to stay qualified if your training is not up to scratch) to ensure that you are still providing the best available training.
All of these things are reasons why we’re having trouble finding good quality DVSA ADIs who are also LANTRA instructors – if you are one (or if you need one), please get in touch!

Update: In early August, Lantra emailed all of it’s 4×4 trainers, appraising them of the other relevant piece of legislation – the Road Traffic Act 1998, which has for the last 13 years been quite clear on this subject. They even quoted the relevant section:

It is a criminal offence to provide driving instruction for money or monies worth unless the driving instructor is registered or licensed to give instruction in accordance with Section 123(1). Section 123 applies to all paid tuition regardless of whether the person receiving instruction possesses a full license or not. Section 123 applies to instruction on public and private roads and also to off road tuition.

They have now clarified their position, which is that they are aware of the law and are looking to clarify things with the DVSA and the Department for Transport. They will not be requiring instructors to be DVSA ADIs. This should mean that volunteer instructors who are not paid for their work, will still be able to become, or continue instructing on Lantra courses. Tim. 15/9/2011.

Update #2: In November, Lantra have now clarified and sought legal advice on this issue. As a result, all 4×4 trainers will be required to become fully qualified ADIs. Timescales are that parts 1 and 2 must be passed by 2012, with all trainers being fully qualified by the start of 2014.

Update #3: After correspondence from some off-road trainers who had been given conflicting advice by the DSA, we contacted them for a statement, which we are glad to say supports our assertion that all category B 4×4 trainers must be on their register of Approved Driving Instructors: See full correspondence here.

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