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Manfeild well-placed for policies

Manfeild well-placed for policies

Caption: National Driver Training Centre project lead Michael Barbour congratulates 16-year-old Wanganui Collegiate School student Jimmy Jones, of Kiwitea, on becoming the 100th graduate of the learner driver scheme.

DRIVER training policy expected out of the new Labour-led coalition Government is wholly in tune with aims expressed by a leading locally-based national provider.

“We are in a great position to deliver on the policies expressed by Labour and by New Zealand First in their respective election campaigns,” says Michael Barbour, project lead for the National Driver Training Centre, operating from Manfeild in Feilding.

“We hope that the new administration will now prioritise their ideas about
introducing driving classes to high school students because we share their conviction that this is a matter of great importance.”

The National Driver Training Centre has already begun training the region’s students, with a high pass rate.

Sixteen-year-old Wanganui Collegiate School student Jimmy Jones, of Kiwitea, has just become the 100th graduate of the centre’s learner driver programme.

Mr Barbour said he was heartened during the run-up to the election when the Labour Party and New Zealand First each pledged to introduce training programmes and when Local Government New Zealand spoke out on the subject.

“The importance of a driver licence to perform many jobs and travel reliably to and from work is the primary factor for us undertaking the NDTC project,” Mr Barbour said.

“That the two political parties which now set the political direction for our country and an organisation that speaks for all local bodies also brought this thought to the forefront during the pre-election period simply reinforced to us that we have been right in investing into our own programme.

“I believe our thought processes are mutual – we all recognise that lack of a driver licence is a significant barrier for youth seeking employment, which negatively impacts the social and economic viability of communities.”

Manfeild’s ambition to see students achieve a restricted licence, associated NCEA credits and even a defensive driving certificate before they enter the workforce, will be further explained at an invitation-only forum at Manfeild on November 21.

“We’re inviting school principals, careers advisors and gateway co-ordinators from the region’s secondary schools, corporate partners and funders to an event where we will outline our courses for 2018 and demonstrate how we intend to deliver driver licenses to secondary school students.”

The NDTC programme also stands out in New Zealand by taking a future-now step in giving students opportunity to learn to drive at the wheel of an electric car, with Toyota New Zealand provisioning three Toyota Prius PHV hatchbacks.

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