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Celebrations and success in Colac


From left to right: excited new learner drivers Ellie, Sapphire, Skit and Riley with Changing Gears trainer Nikki (second from right).



Changing Gears trainer Nikki was impressed by the friendly greeting provided by Guidance Counsellor Kathryn Johns, Campus Principal Beck McKenzie, Principal Michelle Ferrari and front desk staffer Kellie Meddings at Lavers Hill College, Colac Campus.


She was ushered upstairs to meet students Ellie, Emily, Georgia, Indigo, Jack, Meghan, Ryleigh, Sapphire, Skit and Teagan who sat expectantly as Nikki set up and gave out resource books.


Jumping into learning


Teaching support staff, Kathryn and Jess had helped the students in using personal emails to create VicRoads Accounts prior to the beginning of the program to ensure the group could jump right in to learning.


Due to the VicRoads Colac office having limited staff and resources, it had been decided the program would be conducted online.


Some that had come from Lavers Hill had not been instructed to enrol. However, with a little encouragement, they quickly did this, impressing Nikki with their computer skills and intelligence in the process.


Then it was into the program. As sign up had been expedited, Nikki was able to use a combination of online learning and direct instruction. She went through key points in the first module, ‘Your driving attitude.’ She also used a measuring tool to show the students how long the stopping distance for a car travelling 100 km/hr, was in the street.


Department of Transport support


Just before the group went downstairs to do this, they were joined by Sally Swankie from the Department of Transport and her media expert Carri.

“It’s great how you show the students stopping distances and use personal stories to explain things,” Sally enthused, enjoying the demonstration.


The students then launched into the online program gaining added insight from the quizzes and challenge activities contained there.


The second day Nikki went through key parts of the second module “Signs and Rules,” with the students using their resource books. They were assisted by teacher support staff Kelly and Kathryn.


Skit's staggering speed


The students worked quickly and well, Skit staggering Nikki by working through all the modules to reach their final test by the end of the second day.


“Would you like to sit your test now or would you prefer to wait for tomorrow morning?” Nikki asked.

“I’ll do it now,” Skit replied grinning. They were keen to get through this hurdle! After less than fifteen minutes, with a minimum of support, Skit passed with perfect marks!


Wednesday morning saw teacher support Ange join the group and a determined Ryleigh pass his test, also with perfect marks! Hot on their heels, Sapphire attempted the test. She sped through it and was only a few marks short of passing.


Taking your time helps with the test


“What I noticed is that you tended to go very quickly and sometimes this can mean you don’t take in the question. If you read, ‘who goes first’ instead of ‘who gives way’ you’ll have an incorrect answer,” Nikki explained, “we can fix this by slowing right down, reading every question and taking time to check your answers,’” she reassured Sapphire.

Ellie and Georgia passed by the end of the day.


On the Thursday morning, Sapphire sat the test again, this time going slowly and carefully. She passed with perfect marks whilst Emily had also passed.

“I’m so proud of you!” Nikki beamed, “what a tremendous achievement.”

Then it was Indigo’s turn. And once again success, perfect marks.


Fifteen-year-olds can participate and learn a lot


Meghan, who was fifteen, finished the units in the learning and education section. Nikki advised that as soon as they turn sixteen, they can go through all the units and complete the test just as they’d seen their classmates do.


Unfortunately, Jack who had battled illness on Tuesday was away on Thursday and Teagan, who was also not yet sixteen was also unable to attend.

“That’s ok,” said trainer Nikki, “they have the tools in addition to their resource books and can work through at their own pace.”


Kyla's persistence paid off


This left Kyla, who had an unsuccessful attempt without Nikki’s oversight.

“I’d really love to support you,” Nikki told them, “Like Sapphire, we’ll just go really slowly and check everything."


So as all the other excited new learner permit holders descended on the Colac VicRoads office and were kindly served by John and Nicola there, trainer Nikki sat with Kyla in the local Subway as they completed the test.


Nikki was really impressed with Kyla’s knowledge, (she had seen them assisting Indigo and their sibling Meghan) and sure enough by going slowly and reading each question carefully, Kyla also achieved perfect marks.


“What a great program!” a local reporter, who attended on Thursday morning, commented.


It's a team effort


Nikki was thrilled but wanted to give credit where credit was due, “Without help from VicRoads, Kathryn, Ange and the staff at the college, it wouldn’t have been possible.


So, a big shout out to all the staff and students at Lavers Hill College. All your hard work has led to celebrations and success in Colac (and Lavers Hill).


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.


Click here to subscribe and find out about delivery of the Changing Gears program.


Call 1800 766 361 to find out more about Changing Gears.


Tags: #GOALS, #Greater Otway Applied Learning S #Lavers Hill College, #Lavers Hill College - Colac Campus, #Colac, #community education program #safer roads #l plates, #learners permit, #road safety, #student driving program, #ChangingGears.

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