From left to right: excited learner drivers Laughlan, Jacob (3rd from left), Zedi, Vincent and Kiki, Amber sits (front row middle) with Ari (front row right). VicRoads Team member Di (second from left) laughs with trainer Linda (front row left), in the lobby of VicRoads, Ringwood testing centre.
Building in many ways
Construction was everywhere at Cire Yarra Junction when Linda drove out to meet students Aaron, Amber, Ari, Bailey, Elyssa, Jacob, Jake, Kiki, Laughlan, Vincent and Zedi. The carpark location had changed to allow for a new childcare centre, which will share the site with the school.
Due to the construction, the program had to be shifted each day, but the students showed great flexibility in moving from class to class.
Eyes to the front for common sense and safety
Friends Vincent and Zedi had a little trouble concentrating but trainer Linda explained to the group that she understood Vincent was easily distracted.
“What I’ll do is remind him every now and then when he loses focus,” she explained, “Vincent, eyes to the front. Vincent, eyes to the front, Vincent, eyes to the front.”
The group, including Vincent, had a good laugh at this.
The first day the group concentrated on a most important topic, ‘Your driving attitude.’ Linda explained this needs to be correct before learning anything about road rules or sharing the road with others as it is the foundation on which good driving is built.
Linda noted Jacob had one of the deepest voices she had ever heard and recommended he go into radio voice-over work with this wonderful talent.
Taking the pressure off, a balm for anxiety
Kiki was very anxious and sensitive to loud noises for the first few days. To the point she asked if she could leave if the noise got too loud.
Trainer Linda promised to keep the noise down, and the class cooperated so well that by test day, Kiki was animated, full of smiles and contributing to the loudness of the group.
Bailey was another student who felt very overwhelmed at the beginning of the course.
“That’s ok,” trainer Linda told him, “sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed. You can come to class with the idea you don’t have to sit your learner permit test on Friday. Then, if you don’t feel ready, you’ll still learn some great things.”
Bailey decided to show up. Without the pressure he had been putting on himself to sit the test, he learnt well and enjoyed the program.
High scores achieved
On Tuesday, the group did their first practice test by themselves. Amber, the quiet achiever showed how well she understood the concepts of common sense and safety by scoring 97%!
By the end of the week all those who were ready were achieving between 90-100% on their practice tests.
On the day of the visit to VicRoads Linda met with Di at the Ringwood testing centre. Unfortunately, the students were taken to the Ringwood hub, rather than the Heatherdale Road testing site which made them late. Linda worked with Di to ensure the holdup did not interfere with other VicRoads customers.
Finally, the students arrived. Di processed them efficiently and one by one, to her astonishment, they all passed with scores of over 90%. The exception was Kiki, who passed with 78% but was really happy with her achievement, given her nerves.
“Kiki is the highlight of my week,” teacher Mel enthused, “not only did she pass, but over the course of the week, she has lit up and discovered a passion for learning.”
Eight new awesome learner drivers
Ari and Elyssa unfortunately did not have the correct ID and were unable to sit their tests.
“That’s just fine,” trainer Linda explained, “sometimes not being ready to sit their test can show up in the form of students not bringing the correct ID. Ari and Elyssa will have an opportunity to sit their learner permit test with other Cire groups and may be ready at that time. But overall, I’m really proud of everyone.”
Once again, the highly successful partnership between VicRoads and Changing Gears has produced eight new learner drivers who understand the Victorian Road rules and know how to drive safely. Thanks go to Disna and Di at Ringwood VicRoads for all their help with this amazing result.
Possibilities open up
Driving opens up so many possibilities for disadvantaged young people. Classes are supportive, students and trainers inspire each other, showing the way for young people to overcome their obstacles to driving and experience success.
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