NPDC-funded scheme puts teens on the road to success

31 October 2019

More than 50 young people have their learner licence and are on the road to a career thanks to NPDC and Taranaki Futures.

NPDC invested $50,000 in the programme which saw students from Inglewood High School, Waitara High School and Spotswood College get help with learning to drive through road code training and lessons from driver mentors. 

The project, which is run by Taranaki Futures, aims to open up job opportunities and career paths for the teenagers by removing the barriers some students have to getting their restricted licence.

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom said it was a ‘win-win’ for tradies, small businesses and teenagers looking for their first job.

“This has been a project that’s been close to my heart so I’m absolutely thrilled to see 50 teenagers get their restricted driver licence. Not all kids get the help they need to learn to drive so this scheme is great for those who want their restricted driver licence as they leave school and head out into the workforce. I’d like to a say a big ‘thank you’ as well to the 12 mentors who stepped up to help the students,” says Mayor Holdom.

Taranaki Futures General Manager Belinda Mooney says: “This programme is all about removing the barriers for students to obtain their restricted driver licence – it is an essential requirement for many employers today. Students have given up their holiday time and added to their study workload to be part of this programme – it is great to see their hard work translating to success. 

“Supporting students to success on this programme has also been no small ask of the schools involved. Their dedication to their students is second to none, we are very lucky to have such fantastic school leadership teams in our schools.” 

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity for students to participate in something which will gain them independence and help them significantly with their future career,” says Inglewood High School’s Pathways Advisor Diane Foreman.

A call for mentors in July saw a great response with 12 volunteers – including a stunt-car driver! – putting their hands up to help the kids. All the students on the course had three AA driving lessons and 16 opted for further practical training with the mentors and a Taranaki Futures car.  

The pilot programme included a week-long intensive road code training, the learner licence test and learning to drive. Still to come in 2020 is a defensive driving course and then the restricted licence test. 


Pictured are Taranaki Futures’ Belinda Mooney with Inglewood and Waitara high schools pupils, from left, Emerald Curtis, Jennifer Jacobsen, Channtae-Lee Lichtwark and Emily O'Carroll.
Driver training scheme