Becoming a driving instructor gives you the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world. Thousands of Britons emigrate from the UK every year dreaming of clear skies, sunny beaches and palm trees. Living an improved life in a beautiful climate is certainly appealing, but just like here in the UK, you need to earn a living to support yourself or your family. Transferring your existing skills or starting a new career abroad can be one of the toughest challenges for newly arrived migrants.
Being a driving instructor is one of the few careers with very easily transferable skills. In fact, driving instructors from the UK are in a great position to work abroad as the testing and examinations required to work here are much more stringent and robust than in many other countries. This puts UK driving instructors in a great position as their existing skills are often at a higher level than those of local instructors abroad.
Adapting to a new Lifestyle
Working as a driving instructor abroad is great as the flexible hours allow you to spend time adapting to your new surroundings and due to the nature of the work you will meet loads of new people straight away.
Spending time with people from a variety of different backgrounds (as driving instructors do everyday!) could enable you to develop a much better understanding of the new culture you’ve become immersed in, which may also help you settle much quicker.
In most countries you will need to sit a series of exams to prove you have the skills required to teach. If the country you are moving to speaks a different language then you will need to sit the exams in their language. In most locations the exams will be based on your driving ability, teaching skills and theory of the road.
New Zealand and Australia
Australia and New Zealand are two popular destinations many Brits migrate to every year.
In Australia you are allowed to drive with a British license for three months before you are required to obtain the local documents. As Britain and Australia have excellent diplomatic relations, British licenses are recognised in most states. So all you need to do to qualify is take the exams and pay the fees.
For many (particularly those who are bi-lingual) moving to Spain, France or other countries on the continent is extremely appealing. Qualifying to a be a driving instructor in these countries can be a bit more difficult as you need to be confident in your ability to speak the language as well as simply passing the relevant exams.
However, in Spain there is often demand from the considerable expat community for driving lessons in English. Another way to make the most of your skills is to train new arrivals who are qualified drivers but want to adapt to the driving cultures and styles of their new country.
It’s important to think about how you will set up your business before you move. If you are moving to a popular expat destination developing business links with other Brits would be a sensible way to start.
Make sure you understand how the tax systems work in your new country. If you are working as a self employed instructor making sure you know how and when to fill out the relevant tax documents is essential.
Aim to learn as much as possible about local customs and etiquette, especially those associated with driving. For example is it considered polite to hold the door open for younger or older passengers? Should you display any religious mementos in your car? These points may seem trivial but it’s important to understand what’s expected locally.
If moving abroad to work as a driving instructor sounds like the type of career change you need then now is the time to start thinking about moving forward with the idea.
Carry out as much research on driving and running your own business in your chosen destination as possible. Try to make contact with expat community groups as they may be able to put you in touch with important contacts to help establish your business.
Finally, remember there will almost certainly be set backs and regrettable surprises, so try to be as prepared for the unexpected as possible. Starting a new career in a new country can be difficult and intimidating but also highly rewarding. However hard it may seem remember just how far you’ve come and what you have already achieved. If things are looking bleak, to cheer yourself up, just think how much worse everything could be back in the UK with the grey skies and cold drizzle!
This article was written by Laura Harris of RED Instructor Training who provide driving instructor training all across the UK