Volunteers wanted to help put people on the road

19/10/2019

A call has gone out for more volunteers to be part of a life-changing program that is putting young people in the driver’s seat – literally.

The DRIVE program is a partnership between Singleton Council, Singleton PCYC and the Salvation Army’s Drive for Life that trains people to supervise young learner drivers who would otherwise be unable to tally the 120 hours necessary to graduate to their P plates.

Since it began earlier this year, 10 trained supervisors have worked with more than 10 young people – with more on the waitlist – and helped to give participants the keys to a range of opportunities including employment.

Vehicles are provided for supervisors and learner drivers to achieve the hours required as part of the program.

Volunteer supervisors are now encouraged to be part of the next round of training at a workshop on Wednesday 6 November 2019 to help meet demand.

Sharon Hutch, Council’s Director Organisation and Community Capacity said current supervisors had reported how rewarding it was to be part of the program and to see young people gain the freedom that came with having their own transport.

Council’s Road Safety Officer delivers the Supervising Learner Drivers Workshop for supervisors, while students have opportunities for further training including lessons with an instructor, a government-funded “keys2Drive” lesson alongside their mentor and Safer Driver courses.

Learner drivers are also assessed as being suitable for supervised driving the program before they are partnered with supervisors.

“It’s quite literally a life-changing program for young people who for one reason or another don’t have access to a car or to someone who can help them to learn to drive,” she said.

“The young people involved in the program come from a range of backgrounds, from school students whose parents just don’t have the means or the time to help them gain the hours they need to people who for whatever reason haven’t had the opportunity to go for their provisional licence.

“Anyone over the age of 18 with an unrestricted licence with a clear driving record of three years and who can roughly commit a couple of hours a fortnight to going for a drive with a young person can be part of the program as a supervisor.”

Ms Hutch said the collaborative program was the direct result of tangible action to address transport issues in Singleton.

“We know that transport is an issue for young people in Singleton, whether it’s public transport services or being able to drive themselves,” she said.

“The DRIVE program is a practical way the community is working together to support young people aged between 16 and 25 to get the practical experience they need to get a licence.

“Best of all, it opens up a world of opportunities for people who can then apply for jobs that require a licence, or take advantage of so many more options because of the freedom that comes with transport.”

The workshop for volunteer supervisors will be held at Singleton Youth Venue on Wednesday 6 November at 5.30pm. For more information or to register at any time, click here

ENDS