There are currently 20 people in the process of becoming driving instructors and one MHK says the path to certification contains too many hurdles.

In Tynwald Douglas North MHK, David Ashford, asked minister Chris Thomas what the Department of Infrastructure was doing to ‘ensure there was adequate availabilty’ of instructors’.

Mr Thomas replied that the DoI was only responsible for testing and regulating them.

‘Historically, there has been good private sector provision of driving instruction, but post-pandemic the department understands that there is an industry shortage and that learner drivers are struggling to retain the services of an improved driving instructor,’ he said.

He added that the DoI had contacted the Department for Enterprise to promote the career.

Mr Ashford called on the minister to look at the legisation for certifying again, saying that some of the twenty would likely give up due to the impracticality of it.

In particular, he pointed the ‘impossibility’ of finding a sponsor who had been certified for 3 years, who needs to be present for 1/3 of the trainee’s lessons – as the sponsor themselves lose lesson time.

Instructor Gavin Morling said that though he does not use a waiting list (instead having to turn many pupils away, unable to fit them in), from speaking to other instructors he understood that some have waiting lists of a year.

Mr Morling said that the shortage of instructors was a ‘wider issue’ which would cause problems for attracting people to the island, as he teaches many pupils with foreign licences who will need to sit a Manx test after a year.

Also specialising in teaching disabled students, Mr Morling said they faced another issue as they are required to sit their ‘road driving assessments’ (different to a test) in a dual control instructor’s car, but without their availability would be unable to get back on the road.