Changing Gears helps drive success for students

Changing Gears, a tailored pre-Learner driver education program, continues to have a huge impact on Cire Community School students with a close to 100% success rate following the most recent course at Monbulk campus at the end of Term 1.

Not only do students gain the knowledge and confidence to sit for their Learner’s permit on the final day, and succeed, they also gain personal and more tangible skills that can be applied to many other aspects of their lives, now and in the future.

Changing Gears is made possible for our students through the Departments of Transport and Planning’s Community Road Safety Program (CRSP). The program is extremely competitive and Cire has been fortunate to have received funding for several successive years including $21,612 for 2023/24 for Safer Drivers and Passengers (Changing Gears), Safer Vehicles, Looking After our Mates (LAOM) and maintenance for bike education trailers and bikes.

The CRSP initiatives are eagerly anticipated by our students, especially Safer Drivers and Passengers (Changing Gears) because achieving their Learner’s Permit is such a rite of passage and pathway towards greater independence. It could be much more of a challenge for many, or even beyond reach, without the tailored support of the Changing Gears team of Linda Jane and Nikki Thompson.

“Changing Gears allows our young people to study the required information for their L plates in a supportive environment with trainers who appreciate the challenges faced by our students. Through the week, as students face the learning and areas of need for the test, stress levels rise. The Changing Gears facilitators provide calm support to encourage our young people to continue,’ said Peri Dix, Cire’s Executive Manager, Education.

“Without the support of the department’s CRSP many of our students would not be ready to launch into their L plate with such a level of knowledge and success. Our thanks also to Linda and Nikki for their patience and encouragement of our young people.”

Prior to 2016 Changing Gears was delivered through Mission Australia. Changing Gears (formerly Janeway Pty Ltd) has continued to deliver the program at CCS since 2016 with 140 students participating and 136 passing their Learner’s test, a 97% pass rate!

The amazing success rate is testimony to the expertise of the Changing Gears team and their ability to meet individual needs.

As facilitator Nikki Thompson explained: “Like the school staff, Changing Gears facilitators gently work with students to transform their attitudes to learning and their own abilities whilst ensuring everyone is ready to sit their learner permit test and drive safely on Victorian roads.”

Nikki also added that ensuring students have the maturity to behave well on the roads and obey road rules is all part of making sure they are ready to sit their Learner’s. This is in addition to their work to understand the road rules and learn to drive safely.

“Equally important is that if anyone is assessed as not ready, it’s never the end of the line. They are always welcome to return for a later program and ultimately to achieve their goal. At Changing Gears we want to set everyone up for success. That is our promise to CCS and the students.”

The following feedback highlights the benefits of Changing Gears an also the great rapport with the facilitators:

  • Loved it. Thank you Nikki. Huge Help. Thanks for the cheesecake – Max (who celebrated his birthday on the day of the test)
  • I loved it and it helped me a lot – Olivia
  • It was a lot of fun and very helpful – Maité
  • Nikki was so nice and helpful – Sami

The final Changing Gears program for 2023/24 will be held at Monbulk campus the week commencing 3 June with enrolled students bussed in from other campuses.

The three Safer Vehicles sessions for 2023/24 will be delivered at Monbulk on the consecutive days of 17, 18 and 20 June while there is only one remaining LAOM session to be presented on a date yet to be confirmed.

Students interested in any of the upcoming Changing Gears programs are encouraged to start gathering their necessary documentation for proof of ID. This can take some time and is essential for them to have for their Learner’s test.

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