Vehicle boost for licence initiative

Inspecting the Waimate district’s driver licence programme’s new car (from left) are Rotary Club...
Inspecting the Waimate district’s driver licence programme’s new car (from left) are Rotary Club of Waimate members Marjanna Hay, Lynette Stringer and Harvey Wood, Waimate District Mayor Craig Rowley, Alan Maitland (Fonterra), Edgar Taege (Waimate Lions Club), Peter Hughes (Rotary Club of Waimate), Deborah Kibble (driver licence programme co-ordinator) and Lisa Dobson (employment co-ordinator). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Waimate district’s driver licence programme has new wheels.

In a community effort, a dedicated vehicle has been bought for conducting driving lessons, made possible by local sponsorship from Fonterra, the Rotary Club of Waimate and Waimate Lions Club.

Waimate District Council employment co-ordinator Lisa Dobson said living rurally without a driver’s licence was a significant barrier to finding employment.

However, a lack of driving instructors in Waimate meant getting instructors from Timaru or Oamaru, or driving learners to them, slowed the process considerably.

The council’s newly-appointed driver licence programme co-ordinator Deborah Kibble would start taking bookings for lessons soon.

In the meantime, Ms Kibble would support learners to study for the theory test, co-ordinate driving lessons, schedule defensive driving courses and provide transport to Timaru or Oamaru when required.

Waimate District Mayor Craig Rowley said the council considered the vehicle and local driving instructor assets to the community.

"The availability of regular driving lessons will make a positive and tangible impact on people’s lives."

Mr Rowley acknowledged the generosity of the sponsors.

"Their support will help countless jobseekers and make a positive impact in the district."

Along with supporting jobseekers into employment, Waimate District Jobs Hub — in conjunction with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, the Waimate District Council, Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development — has also assisted jobseekers with getting a driver’s licence.

Since its inception in November 2020, Waimate District Jobs Hub has assisted with more than 168 licences and provided more than 190 hours of driving lessons.