wanderer program

Providing practical support to young Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders by getting them on the road to opportunity and independence.

our vision

To help Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders and other disadvantaged youth in Western Australia get their driver’s license through a unique program boasting trained and trusted Indigenous mentors.

our challenge

The greatest barrier to Aboriginal employment is often the simple lack of a driver’s license. this is particularly common in regional and remote parts of WA.

There are many contributing factors to this problem, including limited access to vehicles, the support of a responsible adult and the cost of completing the 50 hours of supervised driving required to gain a driver’s license.

Community concern over road safety has led to increasingly stricter requirements on young drivers, making it even harder for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to access training and employment opportunities.

This only compounds existing Indigenous disadvantage. Figures* show:

  • Indigenous employment is 49%;
  • Fewer than half of eligible Indigenous Australians hold a driver’s licence, compared to 70% of the non-Indigenous community;
  • Only 51% of Aboriginal families have access to a car, compared to more than 85% of non-Aboriginal families;
  • Many Indigenous Australians don’t have Proof of Identity documentation required to get a licences;
  • The conversion rate from learner’s permit to provisional licence in this group is just 15%.
  • Many prisoners in our jails, particularly those in regional and remote parts of WA, are serving minor traffic or vehicle regulatory offences.

This reality has far-reaching and intergenerational implications for individuals, their families, the broader Indigenous community, an overworked justice system and Australian society as a whole.

our solution

The McGovern Foundation has identified the need for a specifically targeted driver mentor program that increases the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who obtain – and maintain – their driver’s licences.

The Wanderer Program will provide support and the necessary resources to those who otherwise would be unable to complete 50 hours of supervised driving.

The program will ensure trained Indigenous mentors work from ‘start to finish’ with participants to establish the strong relationships necessary to;

  • Access safe, roadworthy vehicles
  • Help with identification documents
  • Sort out payment plans for fines Obtain a learner’s
  • permit & participate in the Keys for Life program Learn basic vehicle maintenance and safety
  • Participate in the Keys 2 Drive program & attend
  • Relevant driving lessons throughout course Complete required hours with driver mentor
  • Complete the practical driving assessment

A meaningful relationship between mentor and participant will further our understanding of any other barriers to employment, or a safe and stable home life that may exist. Tailored support can then be offered to take their next step with relevant support agencies.

mentors

Mentors will work start to finish with participants to establish the strong relationships necessary to;

  • Access safe, roadworthy vehicles
  • Help with identification documents
  • Develop payment plans for relevant expenses and fines
  • Obtain a learner’s permit & participate in the Keys for Life program
  • Learn basic vehicle maintenance and safety
  • Participate in the Keys 2 Drive program
  • Organise and attend relevant driving lessons throughout course
  • Complete required hours with driver mentor
  • Complete hazard perception test
  • Complete the practical driving assessment

driver mentors

Meaningful relationship between mentor and participant will provide the grounds to:

  • Create a safe and engaging learning environment for participants
  • Share 50 hours on the road and assist participants to get their provisional license
  • Further our understanding of any other barriers to employment, or a safe and stable home life that may exist
  • Offer tailored support to take their next step; from health support services to employment agencies

Mentors will be trained in:

  • Driver risk training
  • Train the trainer – Driving school
  • Certificate II – IIII: Mentoring & Leadership
  • Mental First Aid

This relationship is central to our program; two brothers in a safe environment, sharing stories, issues, culture, life goals and 50 hours on the road.

*All figures taken from the Closing the Gap Report | Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.  Pathways to Justice – Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples | Australian Law Reform Commission, 2018. Aboriginal people face barriers in obtaining and holding a driver licence | The Law Society of NSW, 2017. ”How many times does one person have to be tested?” | Sydney Morning Herald 28/7/2019.