About LDC

Learner Driving Centres (LDC) is a family run business set up in 1987 and currently 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. In 1991 the LDC driving school franchise was acquired by Teaching Driving Limited who still offer the franchise and a booking service to its members.

LDC Head Office Staff

Over 35 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 investors 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.

Paul McArdle

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 35 years. Few competitors, if any, can match our record of success or our reputation within the industry for providing top quality driving instructor training and an exceedingly fair franchise. 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. Certainly none for this length of time.

Happy Instructor

Winners of the first industry award for Training School of the Year

Learner Driving Centres Award

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 35 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

Learner Driving Centres StoreThe Learner Driving Centre (LDC) franchise was first established in 1987 by a company called Fourmost Training Limited which 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 back in the 1980s) with instructors being charged a high weekly franchise fee making it difficult for them to earn a high income or being fully committed to the cause of providing quality tuition. Most of the big schools still operate in this way. This approach was seriously flawed so Teaching Driving Limited went about developing a whole new LDC driving school instructor franchise package for independent self-employed 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, being more thoroughly prepared and passing first time in far fewer driving lessons. Hence, the creation of the LDC slogans "Make your first test your last" and "For a lifetime of safe driving".

Whilst this new approach proved very popular with the public at the time, many of the existing instructors in our industry did not like the system because it made it easy for learners (and/or indeed parents) to see what they should expect, what had been covered, what remained outstanding and whether they were ready for the test. 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 far more). They also didn't like the fact the materials could aid private practice as well as the profession practice they were providing. It soon became clear we would need to train a new breed of instructor who believed in offering quality, efficient training and who were 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. Sadly LDCs modern adult (student-centred) teaching methods and resources back in the early 1990s were seen as a threat to instructors rather than an opportunity for them to offer a better quality service to their customers potentially boosting referal work and pride in the job they were doing. As a result LDC decided to invest in the recruitment and development of new instructors from scratch, to overcome this unexpected early set back. As a result we developed probably the best driving instructor training course in the UK.

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. Unfortunately, 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. Most appear to just want an "easy life" telling customers what to do without investing any real effort improving themselves or taking pride in their own personal growth. Which is why despite successfully training thousands of people to pass the necessary tests and become a driving instructors over the last 35 years we only operate a few hundred at anyone time. Being a driving instructor is not just a driving job it is a vocation like being a professional teacher or nurse or doctor. It should be a profession where you are always striving for perfection knowing the quest never ends but the real pleasure is in the journey to become the best you can be. Some do continue the quality service beyond LDC which is great to see having ignited this particular fire even if they have chosen to go solo while many others just 'let it go' and do the minimum possible to avoid being removed from the Register! To the latter it is just another job not a true vocation.

LDC has carefully grown its business over the past 35 years, making sure it can properly support its existing franchise 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, primarily 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. Yes, we want to earn a reasonable living but our main drive is to help make a positive contribution to the life's of our franchised customers so they in turn can do the same for their customers.

Companies like Red, BSM and Bill Plant have all gone bust in recent years owning millions of pounds to creditors bailed out by financiers for a pittance (pre-pack sale) who are only interested in the return they can get while LDC has continued to remain robust and faithful to its original goal of making a positive difference to those we serve. 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 at the quality end of the market providing an exemplary service to the public - making our roads a safer place.

Next step

If you would like more details at this stage by post or email please complete the free information pack request form or call us FREE on 0800 197 0010 and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

ADI Information Call Centre

Our opening hours are Monday to Thursday 8am - 6pm and on Friday 9am - 5pm. Alternatively download our latest Brochure in PDF by clicking the image on the right or the link highlighted in blue.

We look forward to the prospect of hearing from you in the near future. However, before you contact us please make sure you can meet the minimum requirements to be eligible to be a driving instructor as set out by the DVSA which are:

  • You must have held a driving licence for at least three years (with no more than 5 points overall or any bans) to start training and four years before starting the job;
  • Be able to provide two character references and pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check;
  • Be able to read a number plate at a distance of 90 feet (i.e. 23 feet more than required for the L test) with glasses, if normally worn.

If you are not sure if you satisfy these minimum requirements please don't hesitate to call us on 01977 691800.

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