By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Driving instructor Phil Kellett wanted to teach teenagers how to drive – now he’s helping change his students’ lives as well, thanks to a new RAA program, Licence to Work.
Last year, RAA driving instructor Phil taught students at Seaton High School how to drive as part of RAA and Western Futures’ Driver Education Scholarship pilot program.
The pilot at Seaton, as well as another six-month program at Findon High School, provided students facing common challenges – like no access to a vehicle or a supervising driver – with 75 hours of fully funded driving lessons with qualified RAA instructors.
Phil said he never thought he’d be able to change his students’ lives so much through teaching them to drive.
“In some cases we’re getting these teenagers out of an extremely challenging situation, where there’s generations of people in their families who haven’t worked,” Phil said.
“Because they can’t get their driver’s licence, they’re struggling to find employment. Giving them a chance in life is really satisfying and definitely provides me with that feel-good factor.
“RAA members should be very proud of this program which is making a big difference to young peoples’ lives.”
Following the success of the year-long trial, RAA and a group of like-minded organisations have officially launched the Licence to Work program, which will continue to be rolled out to students at Seaton High, Findon High and, in addition, Le Fevre High this year.
At this stage, 21 out of the 24 students who took part in last year’s pilot program have got their provisional licence, with some already finding employment.
One of those students, Harley Reiss, found an apprenticeship following his involvement in the program.
“It makes me feel a lot better because I felt like I was never going to get my Ps, but now I feel like I’m getting somewhere in life,” he said.
Due to the ongoing commitment of Western Futures and other partners, 90 students over the next 3 years will be able to undertake the 75 hours of supervised driving required for learner drivers to progress to their provisional licence.
Western Futures board member Andrew Worrall said the Licence to Work program was helping young people overcome the challenges they’re facing.
Learner drivers have to complete this many supervised driving hours
“A big barrier for many young people is not having a driver’s licence, which makes it difficult for them to take up apprenticeship or traineeship opportunities, or even just get to a job interview,” he said.
“To get their provisional licence with the help of an RAA driving instructor through the Licence to Work program is fantastic.”