Winners will achieve the highest combined ranking from our two voting methods. Equal weighting will be applied to the rankings decided by the Intelligent Instructor Awards independent judging panel and also by the voting public. The public will be encouraged to vote by a sustained Intelligent Instructor marketing campaign, whilst those shortlisted will undoubtedly encourage their respective audiences to participate too via the Intelligent Instructor Awards portal.

The Driving Instructor of the Year will be judged slightly differently. FirstCar’s 1m new driver audience will be canvassed and encouraged to nominate their chosen instructor by completing an online entry form. 12 regional driving instructor shortlists will be drawn up, from which the Intelligent Instructor Awards judging panel will choose 12 regional winners. One of these regional winners will be crowned the Intelligent Instructor Driving Instructor of the Year 2021.

Entries for the awards are now being encouraged across the below categories.

The entry forms and supporting information can be found by clicking the below links.

  • Driving Instructor Insurer of the Year – Insurance is often viewed as something we must have, rather than something that is designed to protect us. In this category, we’d like to identify the service provider that goes above and beyond to ensure their customers are looked after.
  • Technology Supplier of the Year – We’re looking for a standout piece of technology that helps either learners pass their test or helps driving instructors run their business.
  • Product of the Year – Open to physical product targeted at helping driving instructors or learners. We’re looking for USP’s, how the product suits the market and how it’s embraced modern technology and techniques.
  • Professional Support Provider of the Year – Please describe the type of essential professional support you offer to driving instructors. What are your USPs? How do you differ from others on the market? Do you help save them time, money, or both? How have you developed your service to meet today’s modern needs? How do you measure your service’s success? Does your service help ADIs improve the learning to drive experience, keep learners safe and/or encouraging better driving?
  • Training Provider of the Year – Do you offer training to the driving instructor industry? Whether this is online or in person, we want to find the best training provider for driving instructors.
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year – Marketing doesn’t always have to be annoying emails and intrusive phone calls. For campaign of the year, we want to see the best multi-channel campaign that promotes a product or service to either driving instructors or learners.
  • Car Supplier of the Year – Whilst many driving instructors still own their cars, the leasing market is becoming more popular. Who has the widest range of vehicles? Who specialises in EV’s? Who offers the best support package along with the car?
  • Driving Instructor Car of the Year – The winners in this category will be selected by our FirstCar editing team. We review a car each month with driving instructors in mind, so expect to see some of the most popular cars and maybe a few unexpected ones. Can the Kia Ceed keep its crown?
  • Local Driving Association of the Year – Sadly becoming a rare breed, but associations play such an important role in supporting driving instructors. Whether it helps with technical training elements, legal advice or even just having a point of contact from a social perspective.
  • Regional Driving School of the Year – A very popular category in 2019, we’re looking for the regional driving school that has looked after their own instructors and learners, especially during the current situation. Again extra points for levels of support including embraces new technology and techniques to improve the learning experience and of course make their instructor’s job more enjoyable.
  • National Driving School of the Year – The closest category in 2019, we’re once again asking the big national franchises to show the industry what they’ve been doing over the past 12 months to develop their support packages.
  • Special Educational Needs Provider of the Year – We’ve been watching this sector closely and have been really pleased with how techniques and skills are developing to meet the needs of all kinds of learner drivers. The passion in this sector is undeniable and we’d love to recognise those that live and breath it.
  • Newcomer of the Year – A new category for 2021, and similarly to Rookie of the year in sports, we’re looking for a new driving instructor who has been up and running for less than 12 months. Someone who is clearly a star of the industry for the future and bringing a new wave of energy and ideas, which could change the face of driver training.
  • Driving Instructor of the Year (12 regional awards, one overall winner) – We all know how important the role driving instructors play in the journey of a learner to freedom and independence. This category recognises not just the driving instructor who always turns up on time, but those that go the extra mile to help their learners be safe & successful. Do you offer additional support, do you have a coffee with their parents or have you got some fun new techniques that help young people engage with road safety or driver training?
  • Services to the Driver Training Industry Award – Replacing our lifetime achievement award, there are so many people that have given a huge proportion of their lives to our industry and it’s hard to pick just one, but we hope to run these awards for many years to come. So if you know someone who has been an inspiration and had a big impact, please do send us a nomination.

Driving Instructor of the Year 2021!

There 12 regional awards up for grabs, with one being crowned the overall Driving Instructor of the Year 2021. As we know Driving Instructors are very humble, this year we are asking the pupils to nominate their instructor. Therefore, we would ask that you encourage your pupils to spend a few minutes submitting a nomination. Here’s the link you’ll need to send them – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dioftheyear2020

Our panel of specially selected experts are eagerly waiting to decide the winners!

All categories except for the Car of the Year and Driving Instructor of the Year will be judged by our expert judging panel.

Lynne Barrie – Chairman, ADINJC
Liz Brooker MBE – Chair, Road Safety GB
Carly Brookfield – CEO, DIA
Adrianne Carter – Owner, The Face Whisperer
David Crundall – Professor of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University
Andrew Drewary – Road Risk Consultant, Road Safety Smart
Shaun Harrington-Lunt – Founder, The ADI Marketing Academy
Peter Harvey MBE – National Chairman, MSA
Emma Kelly – Development, PR and Advocacy Manager, Road Safety Support
Chris Lewis – Development and Policy Lead Police and Crime Commissioner, Warwickshire


• 1 December 2020 – nominations open
• 10 January 2021 – entries close
• w/c 18 January 2021 – shortlist announced, public voting opens
• 21 February 2021 – voting closes
• 7 March 2021 – Intelligent Instructor Awards ceremony broadcast