IT’S easy to overlook just how important having a car licence is.
Getting to work, socialising and accessing health and education services all require driving somewhere.
Birrang learner driver program co-ordinator Craig Toole told The Border Mail those without a licence faced a barrier to employment and social inclusion.
“A lot of people take a car licence for granted,” he said.
“When you don’t have it, everything becomes hard.”
The program from the Orange-based not-for-profit charity, which aims to assist Indigenous and disadvantaged communities gaining skills to become safe and legal drivers, is coming to Lavington.
“Licences per head are lower in Indigenous communities,” Mr Toole said. “Aboriginals are also more likely to get fined (on the road).”
Mr Toole said the program, which also helps out with state debts and work development orders, tried to make participants feel comfortable.
“If you don’t have a licence, it’s a big step,” he said.
“But once you become comfortable, you can see that the barrier is coming down. Once people get a licence, they overcome one of the biggest barriers to life.”
Accredited trainers will deliver an intensive program for learner classes in the morning followed by driving lessons in the afternoon.
Driving instructor Brett Naden said morning sessions were not only aimed at helping people obtain a licence but also to become safer drivers.
“Participants who already hold a learners licence are evaluated on their skills and given instructions to gain the confidence to pass their driving test with the goal of obtaining their provisional licence,” he said.
Lavington resident Jarret Edwards said he decided to sign up because he was thinking about applying for jobs.
“I was working on the council here in Albury,” he said. “But ever since I've lost my licence it’s been hard for me to score another job because I need a car to drive.”
Mr Edwards, along with his brother Ashley, were keen to get back on the road and back on track.
Birrang’s program will begin from May 24 at Lavington’s Place Youth Centre.
The course will be delivered Tuesday to Thursday from 8.30am to 12.30pm for five weeks.
Call Birrang on (02) 6361 9511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org