With winter drawing in, Tom Ingram owner of BIG TOM Driving School reflects on the spring, summer and autumn seasons.
“What an extraordinary year so far; will we ever see anything like this again in our lifetime? Nature has an odd way of reminding us of our limitations at times, and I guess we have all just been reminded of that fact. From a practical point of view, the industry is now trying to play catch up, after hundreds of thousands of learner drivers had their training programme interrupted. Currently, driving test centres that BIG TOM uses remain open, and driving test bookings have not affected our business at all. We have continued to provide the opportunities for pupils to train and then shortly after go to test, and that still holds true. Just one of the driving test centres that we use has a rather long waiting list for standard tests but our Admin work very hard at sourcing tests. Only this morning, for example, we picked up a driving test booking at 6.42 am for a customer. It is precisely this level of service that has made the driving school popular and successful.
It is the entire package of benefits that appeals to our customers. We travel to our customers rather than expect them to come to us, and we provide a wide range of resources so that learning with us is easier. But our safety record is what I’m most proud of; making sure we are training in the correct locations for the ability of our pupils. When pupils train in the correct locations, the opportunity for reinforcing learning by creating positive, constructive outcomes can be achieved. We work hard with our pupils to ensure that practice is controlled, risk-assessed, enjoyable and personalised.
One of the challenges that have surfaced is the increased incorporation of private practice with friends and family. And this highlights the depth of benefits provided to BIG TOM customers. We provide, as standard, a DVSA publication that specifically advises accompanying drivers to maintain safety, reinforce learning with our instructors and track progress. There are useful tips that relate to the way to practice, traps to watch out for and how training relates to the driving test. There is also key information that relates to the law and responsibilities. All of this is covered in our comprehensive, intensive courses, and it pleases me to confirm that it makes for a winning formula.
There is clearly no way of knowing now how things will develop with Covid as we go into 2021. But I’m very pleased to be able to confirm that since we have been allowed to trade, not one single incidence has resulted in any cancelled training or tests. We have been vigilant, and with the help of industry leaders, we were quick to develop the BIG TOM COVID-19 Driving Training Strategy that has to date proven successful.
Stay safe everyone.”