Recent New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS) consultation and community forums on Youth, Employment and Alcohol and Other Drugs have identified transport as a major barrier for young people to connect to services, employment and community.
Local government representation to a number of State government forums have indicated that transport services to and from Singleton are inadequate and do not meet the current and future needs of people living in Singleton to take up further education and employment opportunities.
Australian Bureau of Statistics census data indicates a downturn in the number of young people completing the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in Singleton Local Government Area (LGA) and a reduction in young people in the 10-19 year population group residing in the area. These figures may indicate a lowering of expectations about future employment prospects and a declining motivation to complete the HSC and further education due to rural isolation, transport barriers and entrenched disadvantage. In addition, many young people are relocating to larger population centres which provide regular transport services, tertiary education opportunities and greater employment prospects.
The project aims to build a pathway for young people to develop the skills and knowledge required to achieve a driver’s licence and reduce the risk associated with alcohol and driving.
The Singleton Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) Driving Employment Pathways partnership will aim to address the barriers faced by young people in obtaining their drivers licence and improve the socio-economic outcomes for young people aged 16-25 in the community.
Council in collaboration with stakeholders and the reference group will coordinate the recruitment of volunteer driver supervisors, Driver Supervisor training, mentoring skills development, driver education, personal support and resources to enable young people to achieve their L's, 120 hours of supervised driving, P's, further education and employment outcomes.
The Singleton Council Mayoral Workforce Initiative will support 20 participants to complete the Safer Driver Education program after 50 hours of driving to enhance their driving skills and gain additional 20 hours on their log books as part of its commitment to improving employment pathways for young people.
The Salvation Army and PCYC are volunteer organisations which can manage the risk, rosters and inductions for volunteer driver supervisors.
Benefits to Singleton Community
Addressing the dearth of transport options in Singleton will help to overcome the current disconnect between young people and further education and employment opportunities.
A coordinated program of volunteer supervisor training and driver education to support young people to gain their L’s and supervised driving hours to achieve their P’s is a preferred solution.
Adopting an asset based community development (ABCD) approach, working with multiple stakeholders to harness existing resources and attract further financial and other support is the best option for a sustainable and successful project.
The inclusion of an evidenced based approach with the support of TAFE (teachers and students) to implement the ABCD methodology including asset mapping will highlight what we as a community have and the gaps in resources that need to be filled.
Singleton has at least 2 cars dedicated to supporting eligible young people to achieve 120 supervised driving hours.