How easy is it for you to make a living from cycle training?
the local Council is prepared to allow £15 per student, per course, out of the £40 per child their drawing down.
put simply, 12 x £15 = £180 for 8 hours delivery=worthwhile schedule.
another way to answer that question outside London Authorities that are paying instructors steady hourly rate-
IMO instructor pay is a quality issue. The best instructors go where they can get the best rate.
Recently I contacted a county council on the periphery of London about working with them as an NSIP. They appeared were very keen to have me on board, and put me in touch with a employment agency who 'manage' instructors for them. On talking with the agency it transpires that they pay instructors £7.31/hr rising to £7.83 when fully qualified.
As a fairly new instructor it is always tempting to not rock the boat, however, I was really disappointed with this (okay, actually I was shocked!). I do not think it represents a good deal for instructors, and not only that, but having dealt with agencies in my former working life know that they take a sizable cut, so the set up probably isn't even such a good deal financially for the council either.
I need to e-mail the council contact and let him know I will not be going ahead with working with them, and I'm going to tell him why. However, before I email him I wonder if anyone can tell me:
Is there is a difference in the current level of funding for cycle training outside of London?
Is this a normal set up / pay conditions for councils / instructors outside of London?
Am I being unrealistic / naive in my expectations?
It is hard to make a continuous (year round) living being a cycling instructor. The work is seasonal - being very busy in the warmer dryer months. Many people in the cycle training business have to supplement income by doing a variety of jobs- not just bike training. Some are in the fortunate position of not having to earn all the time as they have a previous work pension. Some trainers / mechanics manage to get steady work bookings but the bidding wars for contracts has had a knock on effect at the coal face in driving down wages and decreasing the number of hours paid in the day. Its not a secure job ...but then again it could be argued ...what job is ?? Many trainers have had to accept wage drops and are nervous about income levels ...judging on the number of looks at this forum compared to comments ...trainers are often nervous to talk openly about this but if you work in the biz everyone is talks about it.... so the answer is ...not easy ! Some training provider organisations have a regular team that they work with. This is preferable for the bike trainers because they then have a known income and the work is more secure. There are no guarantees for work with the large non contractual organisations. Many people are scared to talk about this as they dont want to rock the boat/lose the existing work they already have ...many feel insecure.
If you're fortunate enough to work for a company that provides additional cycle related services, and not just Bikeability, then it's possible to work full time throughout the year. Salary is obviously dependent on qualifications, experience and responsibilities. Freelance Bikeability staff are employed at the behest of the training organisations, and in my experience, lead a pretty precarious existence. Their rate of pay is commensurate with someone who sells lottery tickets from a portacabin, delivers pizzas or waits on tables. There's a glaring disparity in terms of respective responsiblites. In addition, many cycle training organisations operate on a short-term rota basis, which means that freelance staff may not know whether they will be required to work from one week to the next. This makes finding and organizing alternative employment very difficult in many cases. I suggest this is why there is a relatively high turnover of staff; a fact not unknown to those ITOs who supplement their income by drawing down funds for bursaries.
With BikeAbility funding remaining at £40 per trainee, the only way that training providers will keep pace with inflation is to continually erode instructors' pay and conditions. The only ways things will improve are if the funding from DfT is increased, or if the whole system is changed to remove the inefficiencies (and profiteering) of the tendering process.
I saw that there was a meeting between London instructors and IWGB back in January. Have any other instructors thought about affiliation with a union?
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The Association of Bikeability Schemes.