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Full house at Cire

From left to right: the Cire support team VicRoads team members Sarah and Disna, trainer Nikki and Cire VET Program Manager Karen.

VET Careers and Pathways Leader Karen Swankie had done a terrific job of organising students from all the Cire Community School campuses to do the Changing Gears program at Mount Evelyn.

As a result, trainer Nikki arrived with a full house of students Abbey, Anna, Archie, Ari, Bailey, Bridget, Emily, Jade, James, Jett, Lily, Lolita, Rhys, Savannah, Tamika and Teagan.

Fifteen-year-olds welcome

“Hi Guys, it’s great to meet you all. The first thing we’re going to do is to fill out our learner permit application form,” Nikki explained as she handed out resource books, pens and forms.

The group set to this activity with a great attitude, cheerfully filling out their details and discussing various aspects of the forms. Teagan and Savannah identified themselves as being only fifteen.

The group set to this activity with great enthusiasm, cheerfully filling out their details and discussing various aspects of the forms. Teagan and Savannah identified themselves as being only fifteen.

“That’s just fine,” said Nikki, “sometimes it’s really helpful to do the program when you are fifteen then you can sit your test as soon as you turn sixteen.”

“What if we’re not confident about passing our test?” one of the students asked.

Changing Gears helps students succeed on their terms

“No problem!” Nikki replied, “I have every confidence you will all pass your learner permit tests, it is just a question of when. If you don’t feel confident, or you don’t yet have your birth certificate, it’s really helpful to attend and do the program, then you can revise by attending the program again to get your confidence up. This is all about you as students succeeding on your terms.”

Wellbeing is vital

Midway through the first program day, “your driving attitude,” teacher’s aids Andy, Liz, Alex and Tash were concerned that some of the more confronting videos were impacting the student’s wellbeing.

“Good point,” Nikki agreed, “I will do a wellbeing check with the students after lunch.”

Best practice is the goal

Nikki started the last section of the day, by checking in with all the students to see if they were all ok and if the videos they had seen had brought up any difficult feelings or trauma for anyone. The students reassured her they were all ok, but later that day, when speaking to Karen, Nikki explained this feedback was really good and that she would be redesigning the Changing Gears permission forms to ensure that students were warned about video content beforehand.

From top to bottom: excited new learner permit holders VicRoads team members Bridget, Jade and Emily.

“This is really good feedback,” Nikki said enthusiastically, “Changing Gears is always looking to provide the best possible experience, so anything we can do to improve our service is great.”

Lolita collects resource books

Tuesday and Wednesday went really smoothly, the only hiccough being Lolita’s need for resources.

“Can I have a new book? I left mine at home!” became Lolita’s mantra.

Nikki would laugh and hand her a new book, “You’ll be able to run your own class with all your books!” she joked.

The day of the test was nervous one for the students but Nikki was very confident.

“You’ve all worked really hard,” she stated, “and I’m really confident you’ll all do well.”

Disna, Sarah and Karen; key players

The students were wonderfully supported by VicRoads Ringwood Manager Disna and team member Sarah. Several students did not have the IDs required so elected not to come that day, but for the vast majority of students, it was a most successful day.

Even Jade, who initially elected not to come and arrived later in the morning sat her test and passed.

“Can I get a photo with Karen, Disna and Sarah?” Nikki asked, “because without all of your efforts and mine, such great results would not be possible.

From left to right: excited new learner drivers Lily, Lolita and Anna (Rihanna).

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: #Cire Community College, #Cire Mount Evelyn campus #inclusion, #inclusion program, #community education program #safer roads #l plates, #learners permit, #road safety, #student driving program, #ChangingGears.

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