YOUNG men have got a bad reputation when it comes to driving – whether it is deserved or not.
But 22-year-old Paul Hodgson is clearly driving that stereotype away.
Currently a worker in a hotel in Whiteley, he has passed not only his driving test but also his instructor tests.
He is now one of just 13 qualified Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) currently aged 21 or 22 in the country.
In order to become an ADI you have to be 21 or older and should have had a full licence for at least three years to supervise a learner driver.
Paul, who works for his dad’s firm Drive or Ride, said he enjoys teaching and has been interested in driving for a long time.
‘My dad’s a driving instructor, so it is the family business I’m going into,’ he said.
‘I’ve always wanted to be a motorcycle instructor, the car is the longer one and more difficult one to get.
‘So I figured I’d start that and do the bikes a bit later.’
Paul had to go through rigorous testing to qualify.
He had to complete 52 hours of training with an instructor and faced three tests.
The first, similar to the normal driving theory test, saw him answer 100 tricky questions.
Then, Paul, of Sapphire Close, in Gosport, had to take a driving exam – the threshold is lowered to allow for just six minors or less, compared to 15 in a regular driving test.
Finally, he took a driving instructor on two mock lessons where the instructor first pretended to be a new driver and then a driver who has passed. And Paul is ready to teach anyone – even if they are older than him.
He said: ‘I can imagine it will be a very difficult first couple of lessons.
‘But I’m the one who did the course... so they’ve just got to conform to that.’
A Driving Standards Agency spokeswoman said: ‘All approved driving instructors must meet high standards set by the DSA.
‘They must pass three qualifying tests, before giving professional tuition.
‘DSA regularly checks that ADIs maintain this high standard of instruction.
‘Learner drivers can find a fully-qualified ADI in their area by using the free ‘find your nearest driving instructors’ service on our website.’