Learning to drive and attaining a licence has become easier for young people in Geelong’s north thanks to the addition of a new vehicle for the TAC L2P Program.
The TAC L2P Program pairs voluntary supervising drivers with learners under 21 years of age, who do not have access to a supervising driver or vehicle, to gain the 120 hours driving experience required to apply for a probationary licence.
The Geelong TAC L2P Program started in Jan 2009 and is fast approaching a significant milestone with 382 participants having graduated with their probationary licence since the program’s inception.
Geelong has one of the largest programs in the state with 110 funded places for residents across the region.
The existing program vehicles cover central Geelong, Corio, Grovedale and Portarlington, however the provision of a second vehicle in Geelong’s northern suburbs – by Community Bank, Lara District – will increase access to the program for young people living in Lara.
The additional vehicle will also reduce the long wait time experienced by learner drivers living in North Geelong, the suburb accounting for more than 40 percent of Geelong’s total referrals.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Trent Sullivan welcomed the announcement, recognising the benefit the addition would have to the young people of Geelong’s north.
“Road safety and good driving habits are something that the whole community benefits from and it’s pleasing to see the results achieved by the Geelong TAC L2P Program to date,” Cr Sullivan said.
“For many young people, gaining the 120 hours of supervised driving that’s required is easy, but for others it can be a real challenge.
“Some young people don’t have access to a vehicle in which to practice, others don’t have somebody to supervise them, some don’t have either.”
There are 90 learner drivers currently engaged with the Geelong program, with 80 volunteer mentors providing over 750 hours of supervision from January to March alone.
Cr Jim Mason, Deputy Chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and LGBTIQ+ portfolio said that it’s very satisfying to know that young people are benefiting from this program in such a tangible way.
“Since gaining their ‘P’ plates, some of the participants have secured employment which may not have been possible were it not for the program,” Cr Mason said.
“The ability to drive has meant they can attend job interviews and then drive to their jobs.”
Chairman Lara District Community Enterprise Limited Andrew Hilliard said Community Bank, Lara District was delighted to support the program.
“The nature of the L2P program aligns perfectly with the objectives of the Community Bank,” Mr Hilliard said.
“This is just another way we can support the youth in our community as part of our overall goal of strengthening our community.”
The program is also currently looking for volunteers with driving experience to help learner drivers gain on-the-road driving experience through the program.
Training is provided and anybody interested in becoming a volunteer mentor can learn more by going to the Vic Roads website vicroads.vic.gov.au or by contacting the program coordinator at email@example.com.