Greg Carlsen knows firsthand the positive impact the L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program can have on a young person’s life.
About seven years ago he got his driver’s licence thanks to the support he received through the L2P program, something that helped change the course of his life more than he ever expected.
Now the 27-year-old from Hampton Park is giving back to the program that helped him by becoming a volunteer mentor driver with the City of Casey’s L2P program.
A partnership between the City of Casey, VicRoads and TAC, the program assists young learner drivers who are without access to a supervising driver and/or vehicle due to financial or family circumstances, achieve their minimum 120 hours of supervised driving experience required to obtain their licence.
Greg said he was introduced to the program at the age of 20 when he contacted his local council, who were quick to get him involved in the program and teed him up with a mentor driver for six months.
“I was a pretty disenfranchised young kid. I wasn’t employed at the time, didn’t have many qualifications and there wasn’t that much out there for me, especially with no means of transport,” he said.
“Without the L2P Program, I wouldn’t have got my licence. I came from a household where nobody drove, it was a low socio-economic background and I really feel that without this program I wouldn’t have got my licence for at least a decade as it was just the social norm.
“I wasn’t employed consistently from when I left high school until when I got my licence. But within just months of getting my licence, I got a job in the security industry and have been employed consistently for the past seven years.”
Greg was reintroduced to the program last year through his involvement with the CFA, and since December has been assisting a 17-year-old girl to gain her 120 hours of driving experience.
“I thought it would be great for a former learner to give back to the program that was really important to me,” he said.
The City of Casey is currently in need of more volunteer mentor drivers like Greg to help Council keep up with the growing demand for this important program.
“I was lucky enough to have a professional driving instructor as my mentor, but even if you’re not a professional these kids just need to get their hours up and it allows them to get a leg up in the world,” Greg said.
“You’d be surprised at a small thing like teaching a kid to drive, the empowerment and affect that can have on their life.
“Normally for me it’s one to two hours a week and if people can’t commit to that, fortnightly is still alright as well. As long as these kids are getting some log-book hours, that’s all that matters.”
Volunteers must be aged 25 years and over, hold a full (non-Probationary) current Victorian driver’s licence and have a safe driving history.
A training session for those interested in joining the L2P Program is coming up on Saturday 25 May 2019.