With the easing of travel restrictions in NSW and more families hitting the road during school holidays, an important partnership between TAFE NSW and Transport for NSW is helping promote safe driving practices to learner drivers in the Aboriginal community.
The Aboriginal Learner Driver Program prepares people to pass the Driver Knowledge Test and obtain their L plates. The TAFE NSW Mount Druitt course, available online to Aboriginal people across the state, includes instruction in practical skills to stay safe on the road including a breakdown of the NSW road rules, information about the leading causes of road trauma, vehicle safety and maintenance.
Research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in transport-related morbidity and mortality. As well as this, indigenous communities experience significant barriers to obtaining a driver’s license, including low levels of literacy, low income, limited access to licensed drivers and registered vehicles for driving practice.1
Miller local and proud Wiradjurri man, Trey Ferguson (pictured right), completed the program and successfully received his learner driver licence in June. As the youngest of eight siblings, Trey said having his full licence would help him support his family and allow him to drive to job sites in his role as a construction laborer.
“I’m so proud that I got my L’s on the first attempt, it’s one of the biggest achievements in my life to date and is a step in the right direction to turning my life around.”
“The hands-on skills I learnt in the program have changed the way I think about driving and changed the course of my life after coming from a background where obtaining a driver’s licence is rare.”
“It was with the help of both TAFE NSW and the Youth Employment Local Linker program run by Evolve Housing, I was able to achieve this goal.”
Students also hear from representatives of the NSW Police Force and NSW Ambulance about road safety and have practical online support from TAFE NSW career pathways teachers to assist with booking a learner driver test at their local Service NSW Centre.
Transport for NSW Aboriginal Engagement Manager, George Shearer, said the Aboriginal Learner Driver program is funded under the NSW Government’s Driver Licensing Access Program (DLAP).
“The Driver Licensing Access Program helps disadvantaged groups get their drivers licence by providing real practical support and it is now running in more than 100 communities across the State,” Mr Shearer said.
“A licence can be a real game changer for people living in a small, isolated community – it can be the difference between getting a better job, being able to get to TAFE NSW or to access health services.
“In the last five years, the Driver Licensing Access Program has delivered more than 20,000 hours of on-road supervised driving for Aboriginal people in disadvantaged communities and it has helped more than 4,500 people earn their Ls and more than 3,000 to earn their Ps.”
TAFE NSW Senior Manager of Aboriginal Engagement, David Roberts, said the course is fee-free for students.
“More than 1000 Aboriginal TAFE NSW students have completed the program since the partnership began 15 years ago,” Mr Roberts said.
“TAFE NSW is committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equal access to life changing learning opportunities like getting their driver’s license.”
To learn more about the Aboriginal Learner Drivers Program call 131 601.
For more information on DLAP visit the Centre for Road Safety website: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/aboutthecentre/aboriginalprojects/licensing.html
Media contact: Jessica Cortis, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211