Late last year, Passages Peel became a Regional Youth Driver Education (RYDE) provider. Developed by the Town of Bassendean, in 2012, the program enables learner drivers to be connected with volunteer mentor drivers and a vehicle so they can complete the 50 hours of supervised driving required for a Western Australian Driver’s licence. These hours are often difficult to complete, due to issues with accessing a vehicle or a qualified person to assist in the passenger seat or not having enough money to meet the costs. This can create further marginalisation of young people as it impacts opportunities for employment and greater independence. It can also lead to an increase in unqualified, under skilled or illegal driving activity.
Five people have already been referred and have successfully completed the driver assessment and are on track to completing their 50 hours of driving experience, with one young person amazed at how much opportunity having a licence is going to mean for them moving forward.
“I had never heard of the RYDE program before Passages. I was telling the Youth Workers that I was finding it really difficult to find stable employment without a licence. You literally need a car for everything these days. Passages registered me for the program and even paid for my assessment and first few lessons. After that I wasn’t sure if I was ready and I started to get nervous, but Passages really encouraged me and gave me the confidence to just go for it.”
“It’s my independence. I don’t have to rely on anyone once I have a licence. I will hopefully be able to find work and also connect more with the community by attending activities and courses. It will encourage me to get out of the house and help me be a responsible parent. I will be able to take my kids to all of their appointments now and in the future, and I’ll be able to pick them up from school – these are the things I’m really excited about.”
Passages Youth Engagement Hubs provide a safe and supportive environment to help young people who are experiencing homelessness and other complex issues. It is a joint venture between Rotary Club of Perth and Vinnies WA.