Sarah is on the road to freedom

Learning to drive is a rite of passage for young Tasmanians.

Getting your licence heralds an exciting new chapter filled with freedom and independence. It can also clinch a job offer, particularly in regional areas.

Racking up the 80 hours of supervised driving needed to sit for your Ps can be challenging for anyone. But spare a thought for those young people who don’t have a family member to sit alongside them in the car.

“In the past, I’ve had no one to teach me and it has been difficult,” says 21-year-old Sarah, of Devonport.

Sarah lives at Eveline House, which is managed by Anglicare. Her fortunes changed last year when a friend offered to be her mentor through the Easy Ps driving program run by the Devonport Chaplaincy.

“I already knew Lexie through the Community Voices project,” Sarah explained. “She’s helped me a lot.”

Sarah is looking for a traineeship in administration/accounting.  She feels almost ready to take her test. “I need a little bit of extra help to feel confident and competent,” she says.

“Having my licence will open up job opportunities for me. And it will give me the freedom to get in my car and just drive.”

There are 26 other young people living in Anglicare-supported accommodation who are keen to get their licence.

“It’s very important that we support our young people to gain this critical skill,” says General Manager Housing and Community Services Noel Mundy.

“That’s where mentoring programs like the Easy Ps in Devonport and Wheels for Work in Launceston come into their own. Their mentors are like pseudo-parents. They help our young people to build up their skills and confidence and become job-ready.”

Anglicare runs Eveline House in Devonport, Thyne House in Launceston and Trinity Hill in Hobart under the Tasmanian Government’s Youth2Indepence model.

Could you supervise a learner driver in your community?

There are many young Tasmanians who urgently need to find a mentor to help them get their driver’s licence.

If this appeals to you (or if you would like to find a mentor in your area) please contact the peak body for learner driver programs in Tasmania, Driver Mentoring Tasmania Inc.

Eveline House student Sarah has developed a close rapport with her driving mentor, Lexie.

Photo courtesy of Devonport Chaplaincy.

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