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Changing Gears is a learner permit training program helping community groups to provide life changing skills to disadvantaged young people.

Our learner permit pass rate is 92%


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Can you remember how excited you were when you turned 16 and were finally old enough to get your learner permit? 

Of course you do! Everyone does because being old enough to get your learner permit is a ‘rite of passage’ in the lives of all young Australians. It’s associated with concepts like freedom, independence, self-esteem and getting your first job..

So, if one of the goals of your agency or community group is to ‘level the playing field’ for disadvantaged young people, then one of the most powerful things you can do is to help them get their learner permit.

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Changing Gears is The Solution

Changing Gears is Victoria’s only four-day learner permit training program for marginalised young people. The program fully prepares them to pass the learner permit test on the fourth day. 

An effective intervention strategy with great social outcomes, our program boasts a 92% success rate and is particularly effective for students who struggle with literacy.


Department of Transport fully support the program and funding is available. So far, 100% of organisations that have applied have received funding. Our pass rate is 93%

Here’s why that’s so important

For many kids, having a learner permit can be the first step in a self-empowerment process that results in getting their first job. A licence helps the young people get to job interviews and further their education or training with greater ease. It’s an employable skill.

Simply because driving IS a ‘rite of passage,’ disadvantaged young people, are at risk of  offending when tempted to drive without a licence. This illegal activity is not only ill-advised, but it inevitably adds to their stress levels. And even worse, when they get caught, it can be the start of a cycle of law breaking that adds the burden of a criminal record to their already challenging circumstances.

No matter how you look at it, when young people drive without a license - everyone loses. Young illegal drivers are at a far greater risk of road death and trauma. Statistics show that the risk of unlicenced drivers being ‘at fault’ in a fatal crash is nearly four times that of fully licenced drivers. (Traffic Injury Prevention 6(3):230-4 Oct 2005.) And those at fault drivers lucky enough to survive a fatal car crash, may have the heavy burden of shame and guilt to live with.


The Problem:

Low Literacy Shouldn’t be a Barrier to Learning How to Drive

Young people in marginalised communities often have low literacy and/or learning difficulties, that cause them to fail standard ‘learn to drive’ education programs. 

The practical reality of this is that it’s ‘that much harder’ for these kids to gain employable skills and move their lives forward.

The Problem:

Low Literacy Shouldn’t be a Barrier to Learning How to Drive

Young people in marginalised communities often have low literacy and/or learning difficulties, that cause them to fail standard ‘learn to drive’ education programs. 

The practical reality of this is that it’s ‘that much harder’ for these kids to gain employable skills and move their lives forward.

Case studies

Consider the positive impact Changing Gears had in the life of Elle, a 25-year-old indigenous woman pregnant with her third child.  

Elle - Regional Victoria
Due to her disa
dvantages, Elle was unable to pass her learner permit test. Living in rural Victoria, where public transport is minimal, she told us she chose to drive unlicenced to “take care of my mob.” But like so many in her situation, she was eventually caught driving unlicenced and was due to appear in court in March 2020. Thankfully, Elle was referred to the Changing Gears program by a caring Njernda community worker, and as a result, obtained her learner permit in January 2020. These efforts meant a far more favourable outcome in court. That intervention and action encouraged the court to treat her leniently, and she was then referred to a ‘P-plate’ program (L2P). Now, instead of being a convicted felon, Elle is a single mum with a driver’s licence, 

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Biak - Young migrant

How about the story of Biak Tha Sung, a young woman who obtained access to the program through The Migrant Information Centre (MIC)         

Biak successfully obtained her learner permit, which eventually led to her obtaining her probationary licence. With the help of her parents, she was then able to buy herself a nice little car and secure regular employment.

I want to thank MIC for this great program! It really helped me feel good about myself…to be able to drive, understand how to be safe and get a job. Thank you so much!”

Great outcomes include: 

  • ensuring that participants understand the rules and responsibilities needed to become a safe driver

  • opening doors to opportunities like independence, community participation and employment

  • enabling people from rural and regional Victoria to gain safe driving skills, get their learner permit & become better drivers

  • getting their learner permit is a win and a psychological boost that helps young rural people disadvantaged by social disengagement and financial limitations gain independence. They can then access community activities and social programs designed to help them.

  • Provides a much needed ‘win’ that helps with developing a positive self-image, immediately making attendees more employable

Apply Now to Receive A Grant of up to


For Victoria’s most successful learners permit program,

Case Studies


The engagement of Linda Jane from Changing Gears evidences the best practice response to educating new road users to understand road safety behaviours.


The Changing Gears framework is a tried and tested  with great success and outcomes, delivered by  experienced and skilful facilitators.


Changing Gears is an outstanding program that assists young people to gain their drivers licence in a way that speaks their language.


This program offers a fun and interactive environment where each young person learns how to have a shared responsibility towards road safety and what is the best practice towards road safety.


 “Linda Jane, a Changing Gears trainer, has worked seamlessly with Vic Deaf support workers in creating an innovative, appropriate program, with a visual approach to classroom learning.


The most recent ‘Changing Gears’ program returned an impressive result with 100% of participants passing their Learners Permit with VicRoads. There is currently no other organisation offering this type of service to this disenfranchised group of people.…”


Linda has been exceptionally accommodating to the needs of the students and worked well with staff in managing any challenging behaviour that arose.

 As a result of the program, all our students successfully passed and are now in possession of a Learners Permit. Changing Gears has hence been a very valuable program to the Pavilion


Changing Gears staff were invited to run a pilot program with ten refugee young people. This is where our management discovered how establish this program was. It was conducted on a highly professional yet a practical scale with proper technology and rich material. 


Feedback from our client’s stated they could have never achieved it without the program..…”


Project monitoring and evaluation

The intention of the program is for participants to achieve an understanding of the need to be a safe road user and to obtain their learners permit.  Continual assessment of learning outcomes and participants feedback will contribute to the development of Changing Gears Program. 

Average of 92% Pass rate

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