From left to right back row: excited new learner drivers Celess, Shelby, Stella, Taya and Justin (far right) with VicRoads Team Member Lisa (second from right). Front row left to right: Sonny with Changing Gears Trainer Nikki and BSL Frankston Youth Coordinator Jayde.
A staggered start
Frankston Brotherhood offices were abuzz with activity when trainer Nikki arrived there on Monday, October 17th.
Students Angus, Celess, Hayden, Justin, Shelby, Sonny, Stella and Tayah arrived at intervals on the first day. But when everyone had arrived, they were enthusiastic and ready to dive in to learning to drive safely and preparing to pass their learner permits.
Making things easy
Many of the group voiced apprehension about retaining information.
“I’m not good at learning,” one of the students stated.
“That won’t be a problem,” trainer Nikki reassured the group, “the Changing Gears program is designed with loads of activities and opportunities for discussion. That way, when you go for your learner permit, you’ll be really well prepared. You won’t have to struggle to remember all the rules because you will understand some simple principles which will help you answer questions.”
The students proved very able and grasped the rules of uncontrolled intersections easily.
“Learning to back yourself and your ability to learn things is the key,” Nikki explained.
The Voice comes to Frankston
When they broke for lunch, the students were treated to more learning opportunities in the form of a discussion on the upcoming Voice referendum lead by youth coordinators Grace and Casey. The students were given some fascinating history and an in-depth description of the principles behind the referendum.
As the lunchtime discussion had been in-depth, Nikki let the students have some extra time to chill out before the group reconvened for the afternoon.
Students well prepared
Taya and the other girls, Justin and Sonny worked through every module quickly. By the end of Wednesday’s class, they were well prepared to sit their learner permit test.
Hayden opted not to sit the test, but remained in the class to learn all he could about road safety.
“That’s just fine,” said trainer Nikki, “sometimes students may not feel ready to sit their test. However, they have all the learning and can decide when they feel comfortable to do that. The Changing Gears program is all about empowering people and setting them up for success.”
The Seaford experience
On the Thursday Nikki was met by Lisa and Emma at VicRoads Seaford. She could tell the students were feeling empowered and ready when they arrived. They had loads of support from BSL Youth Services Coordinators Jade and Stacey. Lisa and Emma were wonderful guiding the young people through their eye tests and pre-test processing.
Left to right: BSL Youth Services Coordinators Jade and Stacey.
Justin and Sonny initially encountered a few hiccoughs but with a bit of persistence and help from Lisa, passed with flying colours. All the girls sailed through without incident.
“I’m so proud of everyone!” Nikki beamed, “all of the students have really applied themselves and achieved well deserved results.””
Photos are the hardest part
Then it was on to photo-taking.
“This is actually the hardest part!” Stella stated.
BSL Frankston Student Stella with her brand new learner permit.
“So making sure that you look good for your photo is the most challenging part of the whole experience?” Nikki laughed.
Eventually this hurdle too was overcome. The group completed their photos looking lovely and feeling confident thanks to the skills of Emma and Lisa.
“Can I give you a hug?” Nikki asked Lisa, “because you and Emma are such a big part of what makes the experience at VicRoads wonderful. We couldn’t run our programs without you.”
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.