The launch of a new WestConnex driving program aims to empower Indigenous young people across South Western Sydney, giving them the opportunity to gain independence and full-time employment.
WestConnex has partnered with KARI Foundation to establish the WestConnex Indigenous Driver Program as part of its commitment to deliver positive outcomes in the community.
KARI Foundation’s Head of Department Cain Slater said the program would provide mentoring, education and assistance for disadvantaged Indigenous youth in South Western Sydney to obtain a Provisional Drivers Licence and be confident and safe drivers.
“Having a driver’s licence empowers our youth to be self-confident, have independence and secure employment, allowing them to participate as active members of the community,” he said.
Young people in the program will undertake group and individual training, be assisted by cultural and community mentors and have access to professional driving lessons. The WestConnex Indigenous Driver Program partnership will allow Indigenous youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Western Sydney to access the program free of charge.
Nineteen-year-old Mitchell, who recently gained his driver’s licence with the support of KARI, said the program had been life-changing: “This program has given me independence and the ability to continue my studies and look for full-time employment.”
“Apart from this, it is also probably one of my most successful achievements I’ve completed in my life, and it’s starting to open doors I never knew existed.
“Without the program, it would’ve taken me a lot longer to gain my provisional licence with limited access to a vehicle or ability to afford driving lessons and I’m now the first of my brothers and sisters to gain my licence,” he said.
Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) CEO Dennis Cliche said the decision for SMC, which is delivering WestConnex, to join forces with KARI Foundation was an easy one based on its track-record of delivering great community outcomes.
“KARI Foundation develops initiatives which have delivered successful outcomes for thousands of Indigenous people across education, health, arts, indigenous culture and sport,” Mr Cliche said.
“We’re proud to be supporting a program that can make a long-lasting impact on hundreds of young people’s lives.”
KARI Foundation CEO Casey Ralph welcomed the new WestConnex partnership, which will allow KARI to more than quadruple the number of young people they help to gain their driver’s licence.
“The WestConnex Indigenous Driver Program will have real significance in the South Western Sydney Indigenous community,” she said.
“This will drive tangible positive outcomes, allowing us to reach a much larger number of disadvantaged youth,” she said Ms Ralph.
About the WestConnex Indigenous Driver Program
- Targets Indigenous young people (17-24 years) living in South Western Sydney from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Supports participants to get their licence with professional driving lessons, ongoing support from community mentors and sees them through to getting their Provisional licence
- The WestConnex Indigenous Driving Program will help up to 85 young people at a time to gain their licence
For further information or comment, contact:
Alisha Allen Ext: 0457 564 805 WestConnex
Cain Slater Ext: 0499984909 KARI Foundation