Project puts youth in driver’s seat

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
RYDE program manager Colin Anker was on hand to wish Anna Nguyen the best of luck on her first driving lesson with Dardanup shire councillor James Lee.
Camera IconRYDE program manager Colin Anker was on hand to wish Anna Nguyen the best of luck on her first driving lesson with Dardanup shire councillor James Lee. Credit: South Western Times, Callum Hunter

After years in the pipeline, the highly anticipated RYDE program welcomed its first client on Friday, 17-year-old Anna Nguyen.

“This will help me a lot,” she said.

“Sometimes you don’t have anyone to show you (how to drive).”

The RYDE program was designed to help South West youths, who may not have access to a suitable vehicle or supervisor with more than four years driving experience, complete the mandatory 50 hours of supervised driving.

Program manager Colin Anker said it was an exciting time and all those involved were over the moon the day had finally come.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“It will only pick up from here, we have 13 young people in the system at the moment.”

Entirely volunteer based, the program pairs learner drivers with a mentor to supervise and instruct them as they make their way around Bunbury.

Anna’s mentor was Dardanup shire councillor James Lee, one of nine volunteers registered in the program and happy to do their bit.

Mr Anker said the program was going from strength to strength as more youth organisations partnered with the initiative.

“I’ve got a bunch of messages on my phone from people needing to sit the assessment,” he said.

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