Volunteers wanted to help get young people on the road

Published on 24 May 2022

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

The award-winning DRIVE program is a partnership between Singleton Council and Singleton PCYC, supported by Transport for NSW, 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.

The program, which began in 2019, has helped give participants the keys to a range of opportunities including employment. 

Volunteer supervisors are now encouraged to be part of the next round of training at a workshop on Wednesday 8 June 2022 from 6 – 8pm at the Singleton Youth Venue to help meet demand.

Justin Fitzpatrick - Barr, Council’s Director Infrastructure and Planning Services said 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 will deliver the Supervising Learner Drivers Workshop alongside representatives from Transport for NSW.

“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,” Mr Fitzpatrick - Barr 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 with an unrestricted drivers licence, a clear driving record of three years, and who can commit a couple of hours a fortnight to go for a drive with a young person, can be part of the program as a supervisor.”

Mr Fitzpatrick - Barr said the collaborative program was the direct result of tangible action to address transport issues in Singleton. Vehicles are provided for supervisors and learner drivers to achieve the hours required as part of the program. Learner drivers are also assessed as being suitable for supervised driving the program before they are partnered with supervisors.

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

Volunteer supervisors may register their expressions of interest to become a driving mentor at any time via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/singletondriveprogram 

The next volunteer supervisor training workshop will be held at Singleton Youth Venue on Wednesday 8 June from 6 – 8pm. Dinner will be provided. To RSVP, visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/supervising-learner-drivers-workshop-tickets-344551632207