13 December 2019

A driver’s license is often the first step to independence and opportunity and Life Without Barriers’ Driver Training Program is committed to supporting people to take that step.

Image: Two participants of our Driver Training Program who have received their licenses thanks to Instructor Max Pedlar (far left) and Instructor Russell Edmunds (far right).

Our Driver Training Program operates across remote parts of WA including Broome and the Dampier Peninsula. The free program supports people to get the necessary driving hours and skills needed to secure their license. For people living in these regional areas, a license is the key to employment, without one, it is almost impossible to work. When the region’s large employers run recruitment drives for Aboriginal personnel, the team prioritise people looking for mining work, as a license is required to get one of these jobs. This has helped hundreds of Aboriginal young people secure well-paid, enjoyable work and helped them to turn their lives around.

Image: Driving instructor Max Pedlar in Beagle Bay, an Aboriginal community north of Broome

Stories of lives changed

Upon release from prison in Broome, Cassie* was suffering from extreme agoraphobia, as well as experiencing anxiety attacks. She was very shy and quiet and had taken to locking herself in her bedroom all day, every day. With gentle persuasion, motivational talks and regular driving lessons, Cassie gained confidence and a sense of personal achievement.

Once she found her voice, turns out she was not shy or quiet at all!

After gaining her license, she was able to successfully pursue her dream job of becoming a translator for elderly Aboriginal community members needing to access Medical Services.

Damien* works on a remote cattle station but had lost his licence due to unpaid fines. Unfortunately Damien didn’t know the fines existed due to his limited literacy skills and working remotely. Because he required a license for his job, his employment was now in danger too. His manager worked with the Driver Training Program to schedule times he could come to Broome, where the team resolved his fines and gave intensive assistance for him to redo his Practical Driving assessment.

Not only did Damien keep his job, but he was also now able to visit his young children and wife on his limited breaks.

Since losing his license he had not been able to travel to their community and it had been many months since he had seen them.

Life Without Barriers is proud to deliver this program through funding from the Department of Justice in WA. Participants must be referred from the Department of Justice to access the free service.

*Names changed for privacy reasons

Related Stories