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VACCA students' journey to success in Wangaratta.

From left to right: excited learner drivers Abbey, Tyler, Blake, Greg, Raini and Jenaid with trainer Linda (fourth from left), outside VicRoads, Wangaratta.

April 17th saw trainer Linda Jane take the train up to Wangaratta to deliver the Changing Gears program to VACCA participants Abbey, Blake, Greg (aka Craig), Janaid, Rainie and Tyler.

Mob culture on the U-shaped table

Linda was really impressed that the U-shaped table the students were seated around had been beautifully decorated by VACCA with possum skins, clapping sticks, leaves and indigenous flags.

“Wow!” Linda remarked, “even though this is a library, the VACCA team have really been able to bring mob culture to the place.”

Mob welcome to country comes first

Once the VACCA mob had welcomed everyone to country, the training began. The first thing required was the filling out of a form for VicRoads. Some students, though highly intelligent, struggled with this and with reading questions. But when Linda asked the same questions, they were easily able to answer them.

“This is great to know,” Linda explained, “as when you do the test at VicRoads, they have earphones in the testing booths. You can press a button and have the question read out to you as many times as you need. And if you still don’t understand a particular word, you can raise your hand and a VicRoads team member will explain it to you.”

Progress made, both professionally and personally

Confident in that knowledge, the students then made great strides in their learning. Linda gave the group plenty of breaks to assist with their fatigue. One member of the group also disclosed he was on the autism spectrum and had ADHD. However, Linda found that this actually enhanced his learning and retention of the road rules!

Not only did the students make progress academically, but personally as well. Tyler enthusiastically greeted everyone who walked in the door and when he left, Tyler told Greg “stay black man,” showing his mob pride. He also asked Janaid, (a quiet achiever with a unique sense of style), out on a date on the first day, which she agreed to. “How could she not?” trainer Linda laughed, “with Tyler’s magnificent mop of hair, how could she refuse?”

The hospitality of the Aunties and Uncles second to none

VACCA staff member Chris assisted Linda to her accommodation, and the Aunties and Uncles provided a brilliant assortment of snacks and drinks, so their mob of learners had the energy they needed to learn.

All of the students and VACCA staff quickly formed a bond, feeling like family by the end of the three training days, which helped the participants learn. Rainie was unable to attend one day, but with the help of Linda and the group, she quickly caught up. The Wangaratta library was also very helpful in the process giving all of the students computer vouchers so they could complete practice tests. By the third day, they were all getting 100 percent on their practice tests.

“You are all really smart,” trainer Linda encouraged them, “and I’m confident you’re all ready to sit your learner permit tests.”

VicRoads Wangaratta welcomes VACCA mob

The day of the testing dawned sunny and bright and the group was welcomed enthusiastically by VicRoads Wangaratta Manger Joel. He had never seen the Changing Gears program in action so was a little unsure how to assist them.

“Don’t worry Joel,” trainer Linda reassured him, “we work with VicRoads all the time and will follow your lead.”

The Wangaratta team quickly processed all the documents of the group and although the facility only had one computer, everyone was completed and successful in under two hours leaning to whoops and high fives all round.

Mob gets deadly results

“Thanks go to Joel and the Wangaratta VicRoads team for their brilliant assistance and their flexibility,” trainer Linda told them with a huge smile on her face, “And thanks also to VACCA and the Wangaratta mob, who not only managed to create a wonderful cultural atmosphere, but also performed amazingly showing that they were smart and able to take on any challenge.”

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.

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