Echuca mob driving for their future - Nov 2021

There were smiles and hugs all round


Cade and Jim, two bright young Koori men attended the Changing Gears program last week at Njernda Aboriginal Corporation in Echuca


Blocks in the road

Both had wanted to obtain their learner permits as soon after turning sixteen as possible, but due to a number of challenges, had been unable to do so.

Filling in the learner permit application form posed further challenges, one of the young men had recently moved and had no documentation for his current address.

“That’s ok,” stated trainer Linda Jane, “we can have one of the Njernda staff sign the back of the form, which VicRoads will take as proof of address.”


As the young men worked through their forms, each problem was able to be put to rest allowing Jim and Cade to focus on learning what they needed to pass the test.


It quickly became apparent that one of the young men had concerns about being able to read the questions on the learner test. Again, Linda provided a solution.

“Vic roads testing booths have headphones in them. You can put them on and have the test read to you,” Linda explained, “if you need a question repeated, you simply press a button and you can have it read to you as many times as you need.”

This knowledge gave our young participants the confidence they needed to know that when they sat down to the test, reading the questions would not be a barrier to their success.


Beginning of the license journey

Questions, forms and problems aside, the two young men began their learning journey helping each other out as they went through aspects of safe driver attitude, sharing the road and road signs and rules.

Trainer Linda had a set of easy to remember methods, which she was able to explain in a way that made sense. Applying common sense and safe driving attitudes are a huge part of the program.


It was clear that both young men were very smart, and they learned quickly when they set their challenges aside. By the end of day three, both men were passing practice tests with flying colours.

Thursday, the day of the test dawned. Trainers and students met at Echuca Vic Roads. Both students’ mothers were there with their boys. One mother had driven from Geelong to Echuca to make sure her son had his birth certificate as proof of identification so he could sit the test. As trainer Linda commented, “That’s love in action.”


Both young men were nervous, but with encouragement from their mums and trainers, and reminders to repeat reading the question and think about common sense and safety in their answers both young men aced the test.


Mob show us how it's done

There were smiles and hugs all round. The two mothers who had arrived as strangers left as friends, each hugging and congratulating the other’s son on his success. Trainer Linda presented both young men with their L plates and they are now ready to drive.


Driving opens up so many possibilities for young Koori people, and with the Changing Gears program, those who come along have a 92% chance of success. Cade and Jim supported and inspired each other and showed the way for young Koori people to overcome their obstacles to driving and experience success.


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