Lillian’s on the road to opportunities and independence

Congratulations to Lillian from Wodonga who gained her probationary driver licence this month through On-Country Pathways’ Driver-Mentor Program.

The 18-year-old had to defer the start of her TAFE course in Wangaratta at the beginning of this year because getting there by public transport was too difficult and she couldn’t get her driving hours up in time.

Lillian started driving with us late last year and this February was matched with our newest driver-mentor Meagan Ablett who works as a trainee business administrator with Wodonga construction company TVN On-Country.

Lillian said: “Driving with Meagan felt like sitting in a car with a friend. It was nice to have a chat while we were driving about where her family are from and it is cool to meet people who have the same background.”

Driver mentors are Indigenous community members, and participants are young Indigenous people from the Albury Wodonga region. The program aims to get young people on the road to opportunities and independence.

Meagan said: “I’m so stoked for Lillian; I think she’s been ready as a capable driver for a few months now, but it was just a matter of getting the hours.”

“Over the last few months spent in the car with Lillian, she shared with me some of her goals and it was obvious not being able to drive herself places was a huge barrier. Lily getting her Ps has given her so many opportunities, and I’m very excited to see her make things happen for herself! This is a huge achievement and I’m very proud of her,” she added.

Getting her Ps means Lillian can now get to TAFE in Wangaratta and start a Certificate II in Animal Care.

“It feels so freeing having my licence. It’s like the final step to becoming an adult,” Lillian explained.

“I am so grateful to On-Country Pathways for helping me get my hours up. I think without the program I’d still be back at 50 hours on my Ls, unable to get to TAFE and catching buses or walking everywhere,” she added.

Animal lover Lillian hopes to become a veterinary nurse in the future and with support from On-Country Pathways, is in discussion with local vets to find a job placement as she studies.

More about the On-Country Pathways Driver-Mentor Program

The driver-mentor program began in 2022 when we were gifted four cars by Australia and New Zealand’s leading bus company, Kinetic. Since then, six young Indigenous drivers have clocked up 170 hours with four driver-mentors. Our driver-mentors are Indigenous community members who offer a culturally safe learning environment. The program is the only one of its kind in the Albury Wodonga area.

To register your interest or find out more, contact program manager Darren Moffitt on 0439 184 719.