Heanor Rockstar instructor has high hopes for 2016

Andy Pearson at Asylum in Intu Derby promoting an upcoming music festival in Derby.
Andy Pearson at Asylum in Intu Derby promoting an upcoming music festival in Derby.

If you live in Heanor then there’s no doubt you’ll have spotted driving instructor Andy Pearson in his unmistakable rock ‘n’ roll styled car – and he’s hoping you’ll be getting behind the wheel this year.

A car is often a ticket to freedom, independence and a future career, so learning to drive is a big new year resolution. And tattooed rock fan Andy is gearing up for his busiest time of year.

Andy, who runs Drive Like a Rockstar driving school in Ray Street, said its great to take on new learners and help them develop – all in his unique way including playing rock music and a ‘tattooed’ learner car.

And Andy’s approach has seen him ditch the more buttoned-down approach of other instructors and set himself apart with a rocky edge.

The 38-year-old said: “Being different is an important part of me and my business. I’ve said before that I’ve always felt different, I feel that I think and see different from my peers and this has always felt like a cross that I carry. With this business though, I feel that it’s differences, its quirks, and my determination to be who I am regardless, are now powers to my business and certainly help me to keep driving forward.”

But Andy wasn’t always so sure about what he wanted, it has been a long, bumpy road to becoming and entrepreneur.

He said: “I was born on the back seat of a VW Fastback in the car park of Ilkeston Maternity Hospital in 1977. I think this is where my love of cars came from too.

“I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. So I made the decision not to grow up as that fitted into my day dreaming, I always felt different.

“My dad was an engineer so I always had a lean towards work in that industry. After working through many different jobs including a zoo keeper, a pizza topper and a guitar string maker, I finally settled down as an electrician. The job never really suited me and in 2009 I was injured at work and unable to carry on doing my job. My spine consultant at hospital suggested I retrain as a driving instructor.

“I thought this was a ridiculous idea but had bills to pay and mouths to feed, so I spent my recovery time training as an instructor. I passed all the qualifying exams on my first attempt and started working as a franchised driving instructor in 2010.

“I had so little knowledge of starting a business or running one. This enabled me to go with my heart and not be restricted to rule books. After working under a franchise for almost two years I felt I had seen enough of how the industry was run. In November 2012, I launched Drive like a Rockstar. I was told it wouldn’t work. But my ethos was to teach people to drive in a way that I would want to be taught. And to represent the genre and people I understand and know so well.

“I will get you test-ready and beyond, I will never judge you as a person, regardless of race, sexuality, hair style, dress sense tattoos, piercings, beliefs or background. I draw the line if you don’t like Guns n’ Roses though!

“It’s been an amazing few yeas since then with many highs. My business has seen a 20 per cent increase in profit year on year and on the businesses’ third birthday, I had my 100th driving test pass. I currently have a 74 per cent first-time pass rate and average at two passes a month.

“I was also named runner up in a national competition for best driving instructor after only trading as Drive like a Rockstar for a year. It was a fantastic accolade.

“The dream doesn’t end here though. This year I’d like to help as many as possible to reach their goal. I also need more drivers and I’d love a rockstar car for every test centre in the UK. It’s full steam ahead, with the pedal to the metal.”

For more visit: www.drivelikearockstar.co.uk.