The Border’s young can’t lead productive work lives without a driving licence.
With many towns separated by freeways, public transport is not always an option.
But Albury resident Tristan Clarke passed her driving test last week, thanks to a learner driving program from Orange-based not-for-profit charity, Birrang.
“I’m very pleased,” she told The Border Mail.
Ms Clarke, currently completing a traineeship as a preschool educator at the Koori Kindermanna Preschool, said getting to work would now be much easier.
She was full of praise for her Birrang instructor, Brett Naden.
“He’s amazing, he helped me so much,” she said.
“With three-point turns, reverse parking – I didn't know how to reverse park. He's the reason why today I know how to do them.”
Mr Naden’s program aims to assist Indigenous and disadvantaged communities gaining skills to become safe and legal drivers.
For the past month it operated out of Lavington, with 11 people receiving their L-plates and six people obtaining their P-plates.
Mr Naden said it had been his pleasure helping out Ms Clarke.
“It’s been really good, with people like Tristan, I didn’t really have to do too much, because they know their basics,” he said.
“We do a bit of tweaking with them, like remind them to head-check and things. Paying attention to distances from other cars and stuff, which makes my job a lot easier as well.”
External assessors from Services NSW graded the drivers.
Despite her nerves, Ms Clarke was successful in her first attempt going for her licence.
“When I heard her say ‘congratulations’, all those nerves just lifted off my shoulders,” she said.
Mr Naden thanked Lavington’s hub and Services NSW manager Carolyn Hartwig.
“She's helped me tremendously, I can't thank her enough for myself and Birrang, because without her help we wouldn't be able to do all this,” he said.
Birrang also helped young people pay off their road fines.