The Learner Driving Centre (LDC) is a family run business set up in 1987 and now operates a nationwide network of around 400 LDC driving schools. Paul McArdle is the Founder and Managing Director of the Company, pictured here surrounded by the Head Office team.
Over 30 years experience in the business
LDC is now one of the most successful national driving school networks in the UK. Unlike AA/BSM and Red we are not owned by a large financial conglomerate with investers seeking high returns. We are owned and managed by people who take a pride in what they do and have a genuine passion for the business. Our goal has never been to be the biggest franchise network or indeed the most profitable but rather the best. The best for you as the driving instructor operating your own quality LDC driving school business and the best for your customers learning to drive. Below is Paul McArdle the Managing Director of the company at his desk continuing to drive these quality standards forward with help from the whole franchise team.
No other driver training organisation has a business and training package to rival the quality and professionalism of LDC driving schools. It is this quality and professionalism that has generated, and continues to help generate the success of each driving instructor in the LDC driving schools network. You could be part of that success and share in the rewards that come from serving the needs of customers at the quality end of the driver training market.
Proven track record of success
LDC have successfully trained thousands of people to become qualified driving instructors over the last 30 years. Few competitors, if any, can match our record of success or our reputation within the industry for providing top quality driving instructor training. During this period we have seen many driving instructor training providers fall by the wayside leaving thousands of students without the instructor training they had bought. Few companies, if any, are as financially robust or as successful as LDC.
Winners of the first industry award for Training School of the Year
LDC are proud to announce we won the first ever Training School of the year award at the prestigious DIA (Driving Instructors Association) annual conference as voted by their members. The award was presented by Gareth Llewellyn the former CEO of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to Paul and Gemma McArdle of LDC driving schools at the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) annual conference.
This Training School of the year award was introduced in 2016 and LDC were the very first independently nominated recipients of this award which just goes to show the incredible reputation LDC has built up over the last 30 years to be the very first selected. There are other non-industry self-nominated awards provided by magazine publishers for their advertisers but they have little sway within our industry and are not endorsed by the DVSA or the DIA.
A bit of history about LDC driving schools
The Learner Driving Centre (LDC) was first established in 1987 and was later acquired by Teaching Driving Limited in 1991. At the start LDC operated in a similar manner to BSM with high street shops (see photo of a typical LDC shop) with instructors being charged a high weekly fee making it difficult for them to earn a high income or being fully committed to the cause of providing quality tuition. This approach was seriously flawed so Teaching Driving Limited went about developing a whole new LDC driving school package for it's franchised driving instructors.
LDC was the first (if not still the only) driving school to develop a sophisticated student (client) centred training system for learner drivers, incorporating a programme of carefully planned driving lessons with clear targets, modern teaching methods and innovative home study training materials (i.e. the LDC video series and accompanying workbook). When effectively applied by skilled instructors these resources resulted in learners making far more rapid progress and passing the test in far fewer driving lessons.
Whilst this new approach proved very popular with the public at the time, many of the existing instructors did not like the system because it made it easy for learners (and/or indeed parents) to see what had been covered and what remained outstanding. They hated the idea of providing a planned driving course with test preferring instead to offer a series of potentially never-ending driving lessons - dragging out the learning for as long as possible. They particularly didn't like the potential reduction in the number of driving lessons needed to pass the driving test (especially as the average number of hours being purchased nationally to learn to drive was 52 hours at the time and is now probably more). It soon became clear we would need to train a new breed of instructor who believed in offering quality, efficient training and was willing to put their clients first rather than those instructors who appeared only to be interested in what they considered to be best for them. As a result LDC decided to invest in the recruitment and development of new instructors from scratch, to overcome this early set back.
Those instructors who do no share LDC's 'quality, customer first' ethos are eventually found out and encouraged to leave the franchise network to join the mass ranks of one-man bands operating on their own, doing as they please, selling never ending lessons. Sadly we have found the number of instructors who are willing to put the customer first, take pride in the quality of service they provide and continually strive to be the best they can be are sadly few and far between. Which is why despite successfully training thousands of people to become driving instructors over the last 30 years we only operate a few hundred at anyone time.
LDC has carefully grown its business over the past 30 years, making sure it can properly support its existing members before adding any more and not being frightened to let go of those instructors who do not want to operate to these high standards, who just want an easy life, serving their own needs rather than those of their customers. The end result of doing this is a network of quality franchised driving schools each owned by a professional driving instructor dedicated to providing excellence of service. Our goal has never been to be the largest driving school network or indeed the most profitable but rather the best with a genuinely friendly family feel to it.
Companies like Red, BSM and Bill Plant have all gone bust in recent years needing to be bailed out by financiers only interested in the return they can get while LDC has continued to remain robust and faithful to its orginal goal. Nobody has invested more and nobody can match our record of success, both in terms of getting people qualified as driving instructors in the first instance or in ensuring they have a successful career thereafter.