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Lively Lilydale students triumph at Cire.

From left to right: excited learner drivers Cooper, Tyler, Gevie, Rachael and Taleem with trainer Nikki (second from left), in the lobby of VicRoads, Ringwood testing centre.

It's gettin' hot in here

It was a lively bunch who greeted trainer Nikki at the Lilydale campus of Cire Community School. Students Aaron, Blade, Brad, Chloe, C.J., Cooper, Kayla, Rachael, Taleem, Taylor and Veronique were gathered and wandered into the classroom over the first few moments of the course.

Finally, Gevie entered with Teacher’s Aid Stacey.

“It’s really hot in here and it’s a totally tiny room!” Gevie cried as she looked around herself.

“It is a bit tight,” trainer Nikki agreed, “but we can open the doors to cool the room down and hopefully we’ll be learning too much to worry about our surroundings.”

Stacey helped Gevie to settle and Nikki thanked the group for coming together.

“What will getting your learner permit mean to you?” Nikki asked the students after welcoming them onto country.

“Ah, it means I can drive,” C.J. answered, a glint of humour in his eyes. The group laughed.

“Exactly!” Nikki replied, “it means you have more control in your lives. No more waiting for the bus.”

Independence as inspiration

At this, the students’ attention picked up. The thought of independence inspired their concentration. The group then threw themselves into the first module of the course, “Your driving attitude.”

With the help of stories and interesting videos the group learnt about the concepts of using common sense and safety when on the road and the graduated licencing system.

They measured the 142 metres it takes a car to brake at 100km/hour.

“I can’t believe how much distance it takes to stop,” Cooper commented.

“Yep,” Nikki agreed, “that’s why leaving two seconds between your car and the car in front is so important.”

The group finished the day with a communal practice test on which they earnt 100%.

Learning to back ourselves

The second day, the group learned about signs and rules and at the end of the day, everyone did a practice test on their own.

Many were concerned about their answers, but when Nikki went over questions, she found the students knew the correct answer.

“The trick is learning to back yourself,” Nikki explained, “you are doing really well, you’ve just got to trust the fact that you know the answer.” This was particularly helpful for some of the students. And the test was a wake-up call for others.

“Wow, I really need to concentrate and do some revision,” Tyler commented.

ID is key

Thursday, the students worked hard and the class went over the ID requirements for sitting your learner permit. It was explained that an original Australian birth certificate, passport or immicard, a medicare, bank, school or commuter card and a letter with their address on it were each student’s ticket to the computer testing room. Most took this on board. In between, Teacher’s Aid Nate did morning check-ins and kept the group focused and on point.

By the end of the day and after several practice tests, most felt very happy and prepared to sit their test.

Cooper was not achieving high scores and was a bit worried.

“That’s ok,” said trainer Nikki, “just do some extra practice tests overnight. You’ve worked really hard and I think you’re going to be fine.”

A positive mindset really helps

Test day was chilly but the group of thirteen, (including Elyssa from a previous week’s program), turned up to the VicRoads, Ringwood testing centre on time and in high spirits.

One by one each student went into the testing area and was provided with amazing service by VicRoads team member Kimberley. A few had some hiccoughs and tears, but Cire Coordinator Karen Swankie, Nate and Nikki were able to support them and get them into a positive mindset to succeed.

A couple of students had brought no ID or copies and were unable to sit their test.

“That’s ok,” trainer Nikki commented, “some are not ready to sit the test and that can manifest in different ways such as not having the correct ID.”

Karen promised she would work with the few that did not have their ID and ensure they joined another Cire group so they would be able to obtain their learner permit at a later date.

Kimberley from VicRoads, our lucky charm

One by one, results were called, and there were happy tears as people realised they had passed.

“I thought I’d failed,” Cooper remarked to Nikki, “but thanks miss, you got me through.”

“You deserved it. You worked really hard,” Nikki replied, “and I think Kimberley, our awesome new VicRoads friend might have been our lucky charm. She’s had such a calm, kind manner. It has really helped.”

“I’ve had such an amazing time. It’s been lovely to be a part of this process,” Kimberley commented.

Ultimately, all but one of the students who sat passed their learner permit test. He and the students who did not have correct ID will be set up to try again soon.

“Thanks to Karen, Nate, Stacey and bus driver Sally. And to Kimberley from VicRoads Ringwood,” Nikki beamed, “without all the members of this partnership and the hard work of the kids, such a brilliant result would not have been possible.”

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, #Cire Community School, #Cire Lilydale, #community education program #safer roads #l plates, #learners permit, #road safety, #student driving program, #ChangingGears.

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