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Good things come to those who study.

From left to right: excited learner drivers Morris, Thakun, Niang, Fatima, Mawi Mawi, Munazza, Deborah, Carl, MZI and Munazza's fifteen-year-old brother Haris with trainer Nikki, (centre front), at VicRoads Ringwood Hub.

Wednesday, April 12th saw trainer Nikki brave the Monash freeway to meet Migrant Information Centre (MIC) students Deborah, Fatima, Marita, Mawi Mawi, Munazza, MZI, Niang, Thakum, Carl and Morris at the REALM Library in Ringwood. Munazzah’s fifteen-year-old brother Haris also attended the course being very eager to obtain his learner permit as soon as possible.

Due to scheduling constraints at the Ringwood testing centre, the group had been organised to complete the online version of the VicRoads learner permit course and test.

They proved to be a well organised group, prepared admirably by Case Worker Rohan. All of them had the required verified email address.

A non-school personal email address is required for the online test

“This is great, all of you have a non-school email. This makes your communication with VicRoads much easier once you’ve left school, as you won’t have to go through your old school to get your emails,” trainer Nikki explained.

Whilst everybody was registering for the course, Nikki made Munazza and Haris new email addresses. Munazza had been using that of a family member who had registered their own account at VicRoads. This is how the group learned that VicRoads allow only one registered account per email address.

The group launched into the first of the three online modules quite quickly, but after morning tea, they worked through some key graphs in their resource booklets. With Nikki’s aid, several participants reached the end of the first module in the course before the end of the first day.

Working through the modules

The second day saw many of the students work through both module two, “Signs and rules,” and three, “Sharing the road.” To keep things fresh, Nikki created an uncontrolled intersection and had students practiced how to look right, turn and give way at it. They also completed the majority of their resource booklets.

Fatima and Niang were so well versed in their road rules that they felt confident to sit the online test on Thursday afternoon and both passed easily with support from Nikki, Rohan and Steve. (Translator Rosie also supported the students up to the testing stage.)

“Congratulations!” trainer Nikki beamed, “I’m so thrilled you’ve passed. You get a short day tomorrow as you only need to attend VicRoads with the group to get your photo taken and your learner permits issued.”

You can re-sit the online test every six hours

Many of the students were ready to sit the test by Thursday evening, and some attempted the test at home but were unsuccessful.

“It doesn’t matter,” trainer Nikki explained, “you are allowed to re-sit the online test after six hours. So even if you are unsuccessful the night before, you can come in on Friday morning and redo it to pass.”

Friday morning dawned and a couple of people had attempted the test but not passed. As this was a community of students who spoke Haku Chin and Pakastani, translators had been hired for the final test day. A couple of students had struggled with reading in the earlier parts of the course, but with the help of the translators they quickly caught up.

Friday morning was a lively session of resource book completion, testing and all students passing. By 2pm on Friday afternoon, everyone had completed their tests and were headed over the road to the VicRoads Ringwood Hub office to take photos and have their learner permits issued.

Have your email print out ready

The mood in the group was jubilant, as VicRoads staff worked to process the students. Upon talking to staff, it transpired that a printout of the congratulations letter sent to the student’s email address upon passing the learner permit test is required. Taking a screen shot of the end of the test, (as the group had done), is not sufficient. However the VicRoads Ringwood staff were able to work with the students to print out their forms and help them through the process.

By 3pm on Friday, all participants had been processed except one, whose immicard had expired more than two years ago.

“It’s important that learner drivers know that if they supply an immicard and it's more than two years expired, they need to supply the appropriate visa,” VicRoads Ringwood Hub Manager Khadiza Akther kindly explained. However, with the help of Case Manager, Sophie McKenzie and the young lady’s helpful uncle, all was resolved before the close of business that day.

Changing Gears can't do it without VicRoads and our community partners

Once again, Changing Gears lead its participants to success with all students passing. “However,” said trainer Nikki, “once again this would not have been possible without the hard work to the students themselves and the wonderful staff at MIC and VicRoads.”

From left to right: excited learner drivers Morris, Thakun, Niang, Fatima, Mawi Mawi, Munazza, Deborah, Carl, MZI and Munazza's fifteen-year-old brother Haris with MIC Case Worker Sophie (right), at VicRoads Ringwood Hub.

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: #Migrant Information Centre, #MIC, # REALM Library, #MIC Ringwood, #Ringwood, #community education program #safer roads #l plates, #learners permit, #road safety, #student driving program, #ChangingGears.

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