Learning to drive can be a daunting task, but trying to understand the road rules in a different language and in another country, the process can be more difficult.
To prepare students from non-English speaking backgrounds to drive safely and confidently on NSW roads, TAFE NSW Loftus has partnered with Gymea Community Aid and Information Services to offer its 17th DriveTime program.
Delivered to the community and newly-arrived refugees, the four day program prepares students to study for their L plates in English, the hazard perception test and teaches them about Australian road culture.
Students complete a Statement of Attainment in Learn the NSW Road Rules, which teaches them the English required to drive safely in Australia, focusing particularly on the NSW Road Rules and being a safe driver.
"What most people don't realise is that knowing how to drive not only gives people a sense of freedom, it also opens doors for them to pursue training and employment opportunities in Australia," TAFE NSW Loftus head teacher of literacy, Carol McKirdy said.
"Combining the theoretical side of driving with the practical, the program gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as well as develop their English language skills."
Students have the opportunity to practice driving on a car simulator and use goggles to simulate what it is like driving under hazardous conditions, such as the influence of alcohol.
They will also learn basic car maintenance, work with the Sutherland Shire Council's road safety officer and do a Safer Drivers' workshop.
At the end of the course, successful students are referred to Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, which offers them a car provided by Gymea Tradies Club to use for driving practice, subsidised driving lessons and driving lessons with volunteer mentors.
The next DriveTime program will take place from July 15-18 at TAFE NSW Loftus.
Details: 9524 9559.