Y Drive learners ready to take the wheel

Learner drivers in Council’s Y Drive program are ready to hit the road after AMH Autogroup donated a car this week.

AMH handed over the keys to a five-door automatic Kia Rio for learners to drive with their mentors.

Y Drive pairs volunteer mentors with young learners who struggle to accumulate the 120 hours of driving experience required to achieve their provisional licence (Ps).

AMH Dealer Principal Jade Cowan said that when he heard of the program’s success in Victoria, he jumped at the chance to get involved.

Above: (l-r) Council’s Y Drive Coordinator Angie McMillan, Jordan Haig, Summa Potts, Jaimee Allen, Charmaine Brereton from Bay Beginners Driving School, Amanda Smith, mentor Annette Greer, mentor Roger McMillan, Pat O’Connor from Pole Position Driving School, mentor Kelly Tooley, mentor Ernie Berger, mentor Melinda Nedwich, Dylan Brown and mentor Helen Volkers. Front: Mentor Keith Doran, learner Wade Mongta and AMH Nissan and Kia sales manager Michael Cleary.

“This program is really good for the community and it was something that AMH wanted to be a part of to support youth in Eurobodalla - they are our future,” he said.

Y Drive is set to make the world of difference to learner Wade Mongta, who has struggled to build his driving hours as no one in his family has a full licence.

The 20-year-old lives in Bodalla and at times resorts to hitchhiking.

”If you don’t have a licence in Bodalla you’re stuck - permanently,” he said.

“Having my licence will help me with job opportunities, give me independence, go shopping, and help my family. It will be legit life-changing.”

Wade was one of six learners who attended Y Drive orientation on Wednesday. He will soon receive lessons from a qualified driving instructor. Once they are confident in his skills he will do two one-hour driving sessions with a volunteer mentor each week until he achieves the required hours.

Learners also attend a Safer Drivers course as part of the program and will return to the driving instructor for a final lesson before doing their driving test.

Council’s Y Drive coordinator, Youth Development Officer Angie McMillan, praised AMH for the “extremely generous donation”.

“We’re very grateful to AMH - without their generosity, and that of the mentors, we wouldn’t be able to run the program,” she said.

“It would also not be possible without the help and support of the federal government, Beyond Bank, Roads and Maritime Services, Campbell Page and Quota International.”

The car will be registered, insured and maintained by Council and if the project ends, it will be sold with the proceeds going in to local youth services. Ms McMillan said more mentors were needed for the program. For more information contact Council’s Y Drive Coordinator Angie McMillan on 02 4474 7456.

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