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Life-changing youth driver program equips participants with keys for success

Life-changing youth driver program equips participants with keys for success

  • Program getting young people in Bunbury job-ready

 A driver training program in Bunbury is changing lives by putting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds on the road to employment and further education.

With funding from the South West Development Commission and Department of Justice, the End to End Young Driver Training program delivered by Investing In Our Youth has supported more than 60 participants to achieve their driver’s licence.

More participants are on the way to completing the program.

Almost all those who have obtained their driver’s licence have gone on to secure a job or take part in further study and training, as a benefit of being able to drive.

Through the program, 16 to 25-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are given free mentorship and supervised driving practice after being referred to the program via partner agencies, as part of efforts to remove barriers to getting a driver’s licence.

The popular program, which usually has a waiting list, has been well-received by participants who have sung its praises.

SWDC chief executive officer Mellisa Teede congratulated Investing In Our Youth and the participants who have so far completed the program.

“This program is successfully getting participants on the road to where they want to go in life,” Ms Teede said.

“Being able to drive gives young people the independence they need to get to training or classes or a job, as well as participate in more life activities.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of Investing In Our Youth, as well as the volunteer driving mentors teaching young people in our community to drive, and the community service providers who refer youth to the program.”

End to End Young Driver Training program manager Semara Murphy reported a 67 per cent first time pass rate for the practical driving assessment.

“For most of our young people the whole process takes longer than 12 months as they face challenges and setbacks in their personal lives,” Ms Murphy said.

“Our role in supporting participants goes far beyond paying for driving lessons.

“We support some young people to access food if there is none in their home.

“We have assisted many young people in applying for and accessing supported accommodation when they are sleeping in parks and on the streets.

“We assist in gaining further independence by helping them apply for Medicare cards, Centrelink payments, TAFE courses or courses at the local PCYC.”

Department of Justice Director General Dr Adam Tomison said the funding arrangement for the pilot came under the Department’s successful driver training and education program for regional and remote communities.

“This initiative gives young people the opportunity not only to drive safely and legally on our roads but to help make education and employment attainable,” Dr Tomison said.

The End to End Young Driver Training program, which incorporates the RYDE program, is supported by the State Government through the Department of Justice and South West Development Commission, and delivered by local community organisation Investing In Our Youth.

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