Birmingham ADIs

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BADIs History

The History of BADIs

Even before he qualified as an ADI on 21 March 1996, David Wilkinson was aware of a widespread attitude amongst ADIs which he thought futile. It amounted, at times, to complaining that the DSA owed a living to the ADI; that the DSA register should be closed; that the DSA should make lessons with an ADI compulsory, and set a minimum fee and a minimum number of hours. All clearly ludicrous, anti-competitive, illegal under EU law, and against the public interest. This was the frightened ineffective ignoramus crying at the moon. David's soon-to-be business partner, Lisa Attwell (now Lisa Anderson) thought similarly. Were they alone, or did any other ADIs agree? They needed to join a local ADI association and find out.

"Driving Magazine", the bimonthly glossy from DIA (which both Lisa and David had joined long before becoming ADIs) gave little hope. It had some constructive articles, but the letters page seemed to be full of whining, failing ADIs, many of whom (they supposed) were ADIs only because they'd been sacked from some other job, and thought "I can drive, therefore I can become a driving instructor". If the letters page reflected the membership, a self-select organisation comprising the "top" (one might suggest) 30% or so of ADIs, then things were bleak.

They searched for a local (i.e. Birmingham-based) ADI association, but failed to find one. On 7 May 1996 David wrote to the DIA asking if they knew of a local ADI association, and on 8 May 1996 the DIA replied

"It sounds to me as if it would be a good idea for you to start an association in the area! I enclose some guidance notes which may be of interest to you".

Full marks to the DIA for a prompt reply. But, basically, if you want anything doing, do it yourself. Time didn't at that stage allow David or Lisa to take things further. The hidden irony in all this is that there was an ADI association already, based in Quinton, but that it had contrived to make itself invisible; and that BADIs subsequently came to meet in exactly the same building (the Quinborne Community Centre, Birmingham) as that association did! (The Quinton Association has since disbanded).

So, the reason for forming BADIs was to establish a sorely-needed ADI association in Birmingham. One in which the members would not whine, but get off their seats and better themselves. You don't get to the top by dragging everyone else down to below your level. You do so by surrounding yourself by your betters, and hanging on to their coat tails. This, surely, stands to reason.

Oh, and "BADIs"? Well, the last thing we wanted was to form an association whose members believed in an "Us and Them" and that we (ADIs) were the Goodies, and they (DSA) the Baddies. Quiet the reverse, if anything.

27 January 2000

David Wilkinson and Lisa Attwell (now Lisa Anderson) paid for the hire of a large hall, with a bar, at 581 Pershore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 7EL, for the evening of Thursday 27 January 2000. This was then (but is no longer) the meeting hall of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society. With the help of many friends and contacts, and announcements in both the DIA's "Driving Magazine" and the MSA's "Newslink" (thanks, folks) BADIs had its inaugural meeting, excellently chaired by Steve Tew.

Following the initial formalities, and discussions as to meeting frequencies, venues and related matters, we were pleased to have DSA’s Barry Goodwin as Guest Speaker. Barry gave a presentation on the wide variety of work he does for DSA, on cars, trucks and buses, and then took questions from the floor. BADIs members were able to get first hand answers from the man who knows, and on a wide range of problems. BADIs had begun.

The 21st century

Funny how the excitement of the looming end to the 1990s resulted in the losing of the ability to count amongst so many people. Our first meeting of the 21st century took place on 24 January 2001. But before then BADIs managed two more meetings:

It was nearly five months before we held our second meeting, on Tuesday 13 June 2000, at the far cheaper venue of a classroom within the Joseph Chamberlain College, Highgate, Birmingham, B12 9DS. Poorly attended (had our self-improvement message failed?) we agreed and adopted our Constitution, elected our first Committee, and set our membership fee for 2000 at £5.

Our Guest Speaker, Julie Hughes, spoke about the various courses run by Matthew Boulton College which can help ADIs to develop both their teaching and their business skills. There were even government grants to cover the bulk of the cost of most courses. Ah, the days before the great Individual Learning Account Scandal precipitated that scheme's sudden withdrawal.

Somewhat more promptly, we organized our third meeting for just three months later, on Thursday 28 September 2000. This was a breakthrough, with a far bigger attendance. Perhaps because we had two guest speakers from DSA: Tony Read and Steve Murray, both of whom were experienced SE(ADI)s. They fielded many questions, but one stumped them both: "Do DSA have any plans to introduce a special Cardington test for motorcycles, PCVs or LGVs?". Tony came back just a few days after the meeting with the answer: "No".

And so to the 21st century ...

This page will be updated when time permits