What is a sponsor?
A sponsor is an experienced driver who accompanies a learner driver in their practice driving sessions. Sponsors are often family members or close friends of learner drivers. The RSA’s Essential Driver Training (EDT) programme has identified the sponsor as playing a key role in safe driving education.
EDT is a crucial component of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, which aims to provide new drivers the opportunity to gain driving experience, skills and maturity.
If you have been asked by a learner driver to be their sponsor, and have accepted, you are taking on an important role. Research tells us that accompanying drivers can have a real impact on the learning to drive process.
Although you are not expected to teach the learner driver, by offering support and encouragement, you will increase the learner’s enthusiasm for practicing driving. In your interactions with the learner driver, you should:
- Show interest in their progress
- Encourage them
- Assure them they can rely on your experience in difficult road situations
- Reinforce that safe driving takes lots of persistence, patience and practice
You may wish to refresh your own knowledge of driving with these RSA resources:
Working with the ADI
Approved driving instructors (ADIs) are RSA-endorsed professionals who provide quality-assured driver training, making use of substantial experience, knowledge sharing and regulated standards.
The EDT programme now requires learner drivers to take a mandatory 12 hours of lessons with an ADI before they may sit the driving test. Learners may also wish to take additional lessons with an ADI to increase their knowledge of safe driving.
As a sponsor, you should familiarize yourself with the driving objectives set by the ADI, and help your learner to master these activities. The EDT process is most effective when all three stakeholders — ADI, learner and sponsor — work together with the common goal of making the learner a better, safer driver.
You should only facilitate practice on topics already covered by the ADI, and should not seek to teach your learner anything that has not yet been recommended by the instructor.
The learner’s logbook
When a learner starts the EDT course, they will be given an EDT logbook in which they and the ADI record details of each lesson. The logbook also has a page for sponsors to record details of any practice undertaken by the learner.
You can use the information in the learner’s logbook to help plan out practice sessions and to pinpoint areas of learning to focus on.
Please also ensure your learner brings their logbook to each driving lesson.
While the ADI’s relationship is with the learner, you may be able to raise issues with the ADI through the learner or by using the EDT logbook.