Cabra-Vale Diggers was announced as a finalist at the Clubs Community Awards facilitated by Clubs NSW for its contribution to the Steering the Learn to Drive program. The DriveTime program is a Learner Driver Mentor Program (LDMP) set up by the Gymea Community Aid & Information Centre who saw a need to deliver a program to newly arrived refugees to obtain a Provisional 1 licence.

Following their research, they identified a couple of issues, firstly, newly arrived non-English-speaking refugees found it difficult to navigate the forms, identification process & exams to receive your Learners Permit. Secondly, not having a driver’s licence made it difficult for the newly settled refugees to find employment or attend study. It was identified that Fairfield was an area which had the greatest need. The centre received funding following a 6-month pilot to deliver the program over 3 years.

For this program to be a success, it required a safe and secure facility in the Fairfield LGA. It was important to also find a facility that was willing to not only provide free onsite and secure parking for the vehicles but to also help in the administration of the program. The car also needed to be accessed and available 7 days a week and any time of the day and night. As Gymea Community Aid was based in the Sutherland Shire, they did not have the resources to provide the facilitation in the Fairfield area, so they approached Cabra-Vale Diggers to help with the program.
Cabra-Vale Diggers was seen as the perfect fit for this program, with their Community Cares program and a strong community focus. The club has a strong membership base and is also located close to public transport as well as having a safe and secure multi-storey carpark on site.

This opportunity was important to Cabra-Vale Diggers to support the community, ensuring the following objectives were met:

  • Improving road safety in the overall local community including the safety of newly arrived refugees there by reducing fatalities and serious injury.
  • Assist in providing culturally appropriate support and resources to the local community.
  • Improve access to employment for newly arrived refugees.
  • Ensuring the safety of the local community by providing the opportunity for road safety training.
  • Contribute to improved access to education, employment, health, and other community participation services for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds through the attainment of driver licences.
  • Facilitating a cohesiveness in the community with cultural learning opportunities.

This is achieved by:

  • Cabra-Vale Diggers providing a safe and secure space to park the car with 24-hour security ensuring the car is protected and secure.
  • Cabra-Vale Diggers provides administration and facilitation of the sign in and sign out of keys to Volunteers and participants of the program working with CVD Duty Managers.
  • The Partnership with Cabra-Vale Diggers allows the program to be run. through the club’s administration with no added costs to the program.
  • CVD provides a safe well-lit area – close to public transport with 24-hour security ensuring Volunteers and Participants are kept safe.
  • CVD provides a safe place for Volunteers to meet participants at any time of the day or night with a space for participants of the program.

Included in the program was:

  • English for Driving Course with use of Driving simulator.
  • Safe Driving in Australia workshop – to develop awareness of safe driving rules & practices.
  • My First Car Workshop – to develop understanding of car mechanics & road safety requirements.
  • Hazard Perception Test preparation & workshops.
  • Driving lessons for participants with NRMA driving instructors and a car available in the area.
  • Driving practice with volunteer mentors, for learner drivers to gain experience on the road and develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Cultural Competency training for Volunteers.
  • Work collaboratively with employment services providers.

To start with, the expected outcomes were:

  • 50 Refugees in Fairfield and the Illawarra obtaining P1 licence.
  • 50 refugees transitioning from unemployment to study or employment.

The program has since achieved:

  • 435 participants.
  • 1544 hours of mentoring sessions.
  • 187 drivers’ licences achieved.
  • 98 participants obtaining employment.

Cabra-Vale Diggers will continue to support this program as it has seen the transformation of the participants in the local community and the difference has made to their lives. This type of on the ground program is giving newly settled refugees the tools and opportunities to improve their English, seek employment & or education whilst staying safe in the community. The success of the program so far will allow it to continue to grow and expand over the coming years as the funding has been extended to meet demand.
It also allows CVD Group to connect with those in the community to provide opportunities and continued support.

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