Updated: Jan 31
Michael (second from left) and Tyson (second from right) with trainer Nikki (centre) and their proud parents.
COVID has had a significant effect on Victorian Communities. After two years of absence from in-person activities, young people are less engaged and course enrollment numbers lower than in the pre-pandemic era.
However, this did not prevent Salvos coordinators Hayley and Amanda from getting the word out. As a result, keen learner permit applicants Michael and Tyson attended their Leongatha office on Monday November 7th to participate in the Changing Gears program.
Michael, as was to be his habit throughout the course, arrived at Salvos early. Tyson arrived a little later. However, when both were settled in they were ready and willing to work.
Leaning into learning
Over the coming days Nikki took them through the principles of safe driving and the Victorian road rules using videos, class discussions and lots of hands-on demonstrations. Onlookers might have laughed seeing Nikki and her students all standing on one leg, leaning to one side as she explained the principles of slowing to drive into a turn and accelerating out of it.
Both young men gave the course material their full concentration with parents reporting that they had both had to take a nap following each session.
The early bird on test day
A beautiful sunny spring morning saw Nikki drive up to the Leongatha VicRoads office. Michael, as usual was there early, so with the booking kindly arranged by manager Kirsten Anderson, Nikki sent him in to be tested.
Michael took the test slowly and steadily, as was his habit. His careful, deliberate approach paid dividends as he achieved ninety seven percent on the test.
Nikki and Salvos coordinator Hayley Boran celebrated with him then urged him to complete his eye test and have his photo taken as his dad looked on proudly.
Both women were starting to become concerned as Tyson had not yet arrived but after a few phone calls, Hayley discovered he was on his way.
When Tyson arrived, he was nervous but determined. He was quickly processed by the kind VicRoads Leongatha staff and marched into the testing office. Fifteen minutes later, he marched out again to the magical words, “Congratulations, you’ve passed.”
There was laughter, hugs and excitement all round.
Amazing but not unexpected
“That’s amazing but not unexpected!” trainer Nikki remarked, “You two worked hard and got the results you deserved.”
And so the Changing Gears program proved it’s tried and true methods were successful again. Two more learners are permitted in Leongatha.
Michael (second from left) and Tyson (second from right) with Salvos Leongatha Case Manager Hayley Boram (centre) and their proud parents.
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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Call 1800 766 361 to find out more about Changing Gears.