Indigenous driving school puts students in driver’s seat

Learning to drive can be challenging at the best of times. That challenge is amplified for young people who don’t have easy access to a car or someone who can teach the rules and skills that lead to a safe motoring future.

We’ve partnered with the Former Origin Greats Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) Academy to launch the Transurban ARTIE #1 Driving School, to help remove barriers faced by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students when learning to drive.

Launched during National Reconciliation Week, the driving school is a Queensland first, providing Indigenous students within the ARTIE Academy Driver Licensing Program across South East Queensland access to a safe vehicle and trained instructor to help them complete their required 100 hours of supervised driving.

Transurban’s Head of Transport Technology (Queensland) Luke Abercrombie, said the driving school would further assist these students to gain the many hours of driving practice needed to gain their licence, which is a huge step towards independence for participants.

“We know that for many young people, access to a car and someone to teach them to drive is a major barrier to getting their driver’s licence,” Mr Abercrombie said.

“By helping students get the experience they need to learn to drive, the Transurban ARTIE #1 Driving School will help students gain the freedom and opportunity that a driver’s licence can bring, including greater access to employment, study, sport and recreation.”

FOGS ARTIE Academy General Manager Steven Page said the Transurban ARTIE #1 Driving School would provide more than 900 driving hours per year across nine schools in South East Queensland.

“In the first year, over 80 students will access the driving school, with 500 students expected to benefit over five years,” Mr Page said.

“This is going to make a huge difference to the lives of these students and support the ARTIE Academy’s goal to ‘Close the Gap’ in educational outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their non-Indigenous peers.”

The school will also help to support and maximise the success of the ARTIE Driver Licensing program, which is funded by the Queensland Government.

A place in the ARTIE Driver Licensing Program is an incentive offered to senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Years 10 to 12 who are achieving attendance, behavioural and performance targets.

Students participating in the program experience, on average, a 20% improvement in attendance across nominated schools, which demonstrates the success of the program.

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