A WHITCHURCH driving instructor says there is 'extra motivation' for new learners to get behind the wheel following an enforced hiatus on tests.

Recent data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency shows that there were 370 practical tests at the town's test centre in 2020-21.

Of those 201 ended in success – a pass rate of 54 per cent which was up eight per cent on the previous year.

But far fewer tests took place amid a year of restrictions, with thousands of people nationally seeing their tests cancelled as only keyworkers were permitted to take tests during the enforced lockdowns.

Driving instructor Bill Hancock has backed up these figures, saying that Whitchurch learners are more enthusiastic than ever.

"I think people have been motivated because they've had to wait," said Bill.

"There are 420,000 tests on a backlog across the UK, and you can wait two months.

"But in Whitchurch you can't get a test in 17 weeks.

"In places which can have a dozen examiners you can have a test sooner but places like us where there are only a couple examiners it is a lot longer."

Despite the trials and tribulations of the previous year, Bill says being an instructor is something he still takes great pride in.

"With my job I take great pride, it's not just a job it's a way of life," added Bill.

"It's the buzz that I get out of it, the contribution that I can make and the help I can give someone else.

"With my job I do have great faith in it, when I say to people this is important, this is not just an exam, this is the real world – it is tangible, something that you can use today.

"I've always had great faith in my learners and I've always enjoyed it."