x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Driven by achievement

This much I know Adam Kechil was born in Liverpool, north-west England, and presents In Gear on City 7 TV.

The <i>In Gear</i> presenter Adam Kechil says his passion is teaching drivers to improve their skills.
The In Gear presenter Adam Kechil says his passion is teaching drivers to improve their skills.

Adam Kechil presents In Gear on City 7 TV.
I was born in Liverpool in the north-west of England. I grew up in the 1970s, when the area was very rundown and crime was high. Poverty-stricken is how I would describe my early years of growing up, although my parents tried to ensure we had everything. They struggled yet managed.
My school days were not the best. In those days, schools were more violent. It was very difficult growing up being a Muslim and looking slightly different. The racial abuse was so open. That's how I became involved in martial arts. I have black belts in karate, tae kwon do and kung fu and have won two world kick-boxing middleweight titles and five UK titles.
After school, I got into restaurant management although I don't really know how it happened. I went to catering college and ended up successfully managing a chain of restaurants around the UK. While working in London, a friend of mine was killed in a motorcycle accident. My career found me - I realised that the best way to ensure people understand the dangers of driving is through education.
I enrolled at a driving instructors college and set about working internationally on a global epidemic. I eventually worked with the Driving Standards Agency in the UK and became chief driving examiner for a motoring organisation. Before I left the UK, I partly owned a driving school which specialised in the development of driving instructors.
Whenever road safety came up, I was asked by news agencies to comment. This led to me to do a safety segment on a motoring show on the BBC. When I was at school, I studied dance and drama, which stood me in good stead for when I was asked to work for Channel 5. The biggest show was called Britain's Worst Driver, a reality show where drivers tried to improve.
Despite pulling in TV audiences of eight million viewers, my passion is driver training. I had just gotten my accreditation from university to work towards my doctorate in the psychology of drivers when I was asked by the Driving Instructors Association to come over for two three-week periods to train their instructors at a Dubai driving school. Following the third visit, I was offered a position as director of training. I came here, against everyone's advice, just before I was offered a contract for another season of Britain's Worst Driver.
Since living in the UAE, I have trained instructors at two driving institutes. I have also visited training centres in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman. All have very different ways of doing things. The strongest driving school is Emirates Driving Company in Abu Dhabi. However, despite these positives, I discovered that the training is weak. It comes down to the instructors not being qualified to teach. If you gain a degree in mathematics you may become an accountant. However, if you wish to teach mathematics you need a further qualification. Here we have drivers who are teaching people without knowing how to teach.
City 7 TV offered me a way to appeal to a potential audience of 90 million across the region. That was important to me as driving can affect anyone, no matter what their nationality. Now I am an executive producer and a presenter on In Gear. It brings a smile to my face when we get questions through email from as far away as North Africa as well as the UAE. It is all about promoting road safety through training. People walk up to me now and say, "Hey it's you, a crash is no accident." I am happy if they remember that catchphrase rather than my name, as it means I am getting through to people.
Achievement makes me happy. I like knowing that I can make a difference and watching people light up with the realisation that they may live longer if they apply what has been taught to them. I am a lucky man who is able to combine his fun and his work in one. How many people would love to drive cars at Dubai Autodrome and get paid for it? I love this region and I have an affinity with the desert. When ever I can, I load up the car and disappear into the sand dunes.
My motto would have to be live and let live, treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, because what goes around comes around. God sees to that.
@email:glewis@thenational.ae