The Aboriginal Driver Training Program run by Life Without Barriers in WA has been upskilling people and changing lives since 2013. Here we share the story of recent graduate, Jake Williams.
A drivers licence is synonymous with freedom and control, opening up the doors to endless opportunities as we journey through life. But having that small plastic card in our wallet or purse, is often something that many of us take for granted. However, one person who celebrates his license every day is 21-year-old Jake Williams from Kalgoorlie, WA.
After years of struggling to pass his Practical Driving Assessment and some personal setbacks, impacting his confidence and employment opportunities, Jake enrolled in Life Without Barriers’ Aboriginal Driver Training Program, which runs in Kalgoorlie, Broome and Lombadina.
Here he explains in his own words about his inspiring journey to driving…
No licence; no life
by Jake Williams
“My name is Jake Williams. When I turned 16 years old, I gained my Learner’s Permit. At the time I was living in Perth, Western Australia, and my Pop helped me with my driving hours. In WA we have to log up a minimum of 50 hours (of which five have to be night time driving).
By 2015, when I was 17 and living in Broome, I felt ready for my first Practical Driving Assessment. I failed. I tried again in 2015, and then three more times in 2017. Each time I failed, and I gave up.
I had nobody to help me, and I lost my self-confidence. I also lost the mining job I was working in.
In 2019, I moved to Kalgoorlie to try to get another mining job but each time I was told that a C class licence was a requirement, so this was upsetting.
Then my sister mentioned that her friend had gained her licence through the Life Without Barriers Aboriginal Driving Program, which is run in Kalgoorlie. I contacted Life Without Barriers and was placed onto the program.
On the 8th October I passed my PDA and gained my P’s. I’m now 21 years old.
It’s taken a while to sink in, but my life has changed around. Life has become interesting again. I have regained my self-confidence, my freedom and independence (no more begging friends for lifts, no more costly taxi fares, no more inconvenient bus and train trips).
I can take my nephews to school, family shopping, to the doctors and on holidays anywhere in Australia. I am now looking forward to regaining work in the mining industry, building up to gaining a truck driver’s job.
I had given up, but the caring environment at Life Without Barriers allowed me to give it another go. The staff were very supportive, and the instructor was very encouraging and spent time talking through the driving requirements, allowing me to practice the skills until I had mastered them. Nobody before had shown me how to do it correctly and made me do it.
I have already recommended family and friends to the Life Without Barriers program.
To anyone else struggling to achieve their goal - please don’t give up, find the right support and achieve something that you can have for life.” Jake’s resilience and determination to pursue his license is inspiring, and it has been a privilege to help him embark on his new journey in life.
As well as driver training support, Life Without Barriers also offers employment services, physical and mental supports and counselling, among many other programs. Contact us for more information.
Image: Jake with his P Plates, thanks to Life Without Barriers' Aboriginal Driver Training Program in WA.
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