A new Salvation Army initiative has been introduced in Bundaberg supporting learner drivers to gain experience behind the wheel in simulated and on-road situations.
The Drive for Life program is set up at the Tom Quinn Centre, primarily for people ages 16 to 25, and supports them in getting their licence by facilitating driving and road safety lessons while providing a safe and well maintained vehicle to learn in.
The program has been running in Bundaberg for just over a month and currently has about 10 students taking part.
Tom Quinn Community Centre Manager Richard King said Drive for Life was a program that was in demand in Bundaberg, and had proven popular just five weeks after starting.
“It has been identified that a lot of the young people we have here are looking for and need a licence so we saw the need for it and now we have the program running out of Bundaberg,” Richard said.
“We currently have three cars that are assigned to the program and we are really excited about the interest we have had so far.”
Drive for Life already popular
Richard said the driving simulator had been popular amongst participants, with the opportunity to get behind the wheel in a safe environment well received.
“We have a driving simulator which for the young people it is great as it is like playing a PlayStation, but it actually gives the participants the chance to practice on a screen while still feeling quite real,” he said.
“You can choose the type of car and the weather, which gives participants the chance to practice in a range of conditions.”
Drive for Life Coordinator Ian Kearton said the initiative had been well received within the community, with students excited to get on the road.
“Everyone we have spoken to so far has said it is a fantastic initiative, they have been very excited and they are really keen to get out on the road and get started,” Ian said.
“There are a range of activities we do with students, including giving them ten hours of lessons with an instructor, which equates to 30 hours as it counts for triple time, and is a great start to reaching the 100 hours.
“Then after that we have a mixture of time with a mentor, or volunteer and time with instructors.”
Ian said the program provided more than just the ability to drive, it also gave students more opportunities in gaining employment.
“The students can gain a lot out of the program including confidence and independence,” he said.
“It goes a long way to having them find a job so there are a lot of bonuses further to just getting a driver’s licence.”
Ian said the program was always looking for volunteers to become mentors who could assist in taking students driving to reach their 100 hours.
“This program is a combination of instructors and mentors who are volunteers, and we are always looking for volunteers,” he said.
“So, if anyone is available to help these young people out, you do make a big difference to these kids.”
You can find out more about the Drive for Life program here.
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