Two learner drivers have gained their probationary licences thanks to driving experience through the L2P Program.
Before joining the program Asghar Awazali and Namatullah Watanyar didn’t know how or when they were going to clock up the hours they needed to get their P Plates.
They both got behind the wheel for the first time through the L2P Program, and in just over 19 months gained the essential driving experience and skills needed to pass their driving tests.
L2P Program Officer Ross Palmer said it was these kinds of stories that really drove home the importance of the program.
“Asghar and Namatullah both joined the program back in 2016 and prior to L2P had never driven a car,” he said.
“As their mentor, you get a real sense of pride looking back at how far they’ve come, seeing their confidence grow and now on the road with a new found freedom.
“So I can’t encourage local community members enough to think about becoming a mentor. Because speaking from personal experience, it really is incredibly rewarding.”
L2P Mentor John Brookshaw has been a program volunteer for about 10 years and echoed Ross’ thoughts.
“The L2P Program is extremely worthwhile. It provides young people with the chance to gain their 120 hours of driving where they might not have had the opportunity or access to an adult with a car,” Mr Brookshaw said.
“But it’s also a lot more than that. I mentored a young learner driver for about two years. And when you spend 60 to 90 minutes each week in the close confines of a car, you certainly learn about each other.
“We had the standard conversations about rules and the laws of the road, but as time went on and we got to know each other, we also talked about personal matters and interests. He became comfortable enough to talk to me about his life, school and work and to ask for advice on different issues.
“We formed a really strong bond and continue to stay in touch today, even though he gained his probationary licence and is no longer in the program.”
Mr Brookshaw went on to say that learning to drive required a lot of trust from both people.
“Lessons are not a one way street. Each mentor must give a little of themselves to gain the trust of their student, and vice versa. And ultimately, it becomes a really rewarding experience.”
In the past 12 months, 19 learner drivers have successfully gained their probationary licence.
This was possible thanks to dedicated volunteer mentors, the program’s major sponsor Swan Hill Automotive Group, and local businesses WDEA Swan Hill, Murray Downs Golf and Country Club and Murray Mallee LLEN.
Click here for more information on the L2P Learner Driver Program, or if you’re interested in becoming a mentor or contact Ross Palmer on 0427 182 241.
Pictured above: L2P Mentor Darryl Nicholson and recent newcomer to the program Jake Cameron are pictured with Namatullah Watanyar and L2P Program Officer and mentor Ross Palmer.