The Trainee Licence

The Trainee Licence is an optional route to your full ADI qualification.
You may have heard it called “the Pink Badge”, “the Pink Triangle”, “the PDI”.
The licence costs £140. You must be sponsored by (work with) an ADI. The licence is valid for 6 months.
Once you have passed Part 2 you will enter into our ‘Trainee Licence Support Agreement’. This will allow you to continue working in your current job while you start teaching real life pupils to get experience, ‘earn as you learn’ and start building your diary.
If you’re not working, our Career Support Managers will discuss the best options for you.


The DVSA say:

“You can apply for a trainee licence to give instruction after passing Part Two of the Approved Driving Instructor (AD) qualifying examination. You examiner will give you the Trainee Licence application form -titled ‘Application for Trainee Licence (Licence to Give Instruction)’ form (ADI3L).”

To apply online, click here: Online.
This however, is where a lot of the confusion surrounding the trainee licence comes in; you MUST also complete 40 hours of Part 3 training too – passing Part 2 is not enough on its own.


The DVSA say further:

“The ADI 21T form is a declaration that you have already completed a training programme of at least 40 hours of training. It must be signed by the ADI responsible for your training.”

The ADI21T application form (Click here to download) is then completed by us and then forwarded to the DVSA with:

  • the current fee
  • a recent passport-style photograph
  • a completed ADI 21T form


Use of the Licence

The DVSA say further:

“You are responsible for the use of your licence.
You must not advertise yourself as if you were a fully qualified instructor. Your trainee licence shows the name and address of your training establishment. You can only give instruction from there. You are not allowed to work independently of your supervisor, eg by setting up your own school.

You must receive the required amount of supervision or additional training while your licence is still valid”.

You must receive supervision or further training from your school after you have been issued with a trainee licence to give driving instruction.

When you complete and send the ADI 21T form to the Driver & Standards Agency (DVSA) to apply for your trainee licence, you will have two options to choose from – these options are given below (You cannot change your option once your application has been received, so you should consider which one will be best suited to you):

Option One - ADI 21 S Sponsor Supervision

20 per cent of all lessons you give will be supervised by your sponsoring Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).
A record must be kept on the Licensed Trainee Supervision Record (ADI 21S) which will be issued with the trainee licence.
You can download form ADI 21S – licensed trainee supervision record by clicking here.
This must be signed by both you and the ADI and returned to the DVSA when the licence expires.

Option Two- ADI 21AT Sponsor Additional Training

You will complete a minimum of 20 hours additional training in the topics in the training programme.
This extra training must take place within the first three months of the licence or before you take your first attempt at part three – whichever is sooner.
The training must be recorded on the Instructor Training Declaration (ADI 21AT), which will be issued with the trainee licence.
You can download form ADI 21AT – instructor training declaration by clicking here.
The completed ADI 21AT form must be sent to DVSA before the end of the three month period, or presented to the examiner who carries out your ADI part three test – whichever is sooner.
At least 25 per cent of the training must be practical in-car training, with usually no more than two trainees to one ADI.
If you fail your first or second attempt at the ADI part three test, you must provide evidence that you have taken five hours additional training at the time of your next attempt, otherwise your trainee licence may be revoked.

Declaration of Manager or Owner

When applying for a trainee licence, the manager/owner of your sponsoring school must complete the ‘Declaration of Manager or Owner’ section of the application.

The DVSA say:

“Declaration by the manager or owner of a driving instructor training company that they’ll provide training to a trainee driving instructor.”

This form should only be used to accompany an online application for a trainee licence.  Click here to download.
Please complete Section 2 and then arrange for the manager/owner of your sponsoring school to complete Section 3.
You should then send this form, together with your completed ADI 21T and two photographs to the DVSA address on the form.

Trainee Licence Support Agreement

If you are thinking of becoming a driving instructor then I can't rate SmartDriving highly enough.

The training system is excellent the virtual classrooms are enjoyable and very informative and Andrew and the team are always available to answer any queries, not matter how trivial.

Top Team who assisted me greatly in obtaining my ADI Licence.

Richard Hart

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