Driving Change conference spurs innovations in the Drive 4 Life initiative 

Partners Porirua News

Sharpening up what we’re doing and taking the Drive 4 Life programme to the next level were key take-aways from the Driving Change conference held in Christchurch during June.

For our Drive 4 Life Coordinator Wes Timoteo the conference was all about rubbing shoulders with others delivering the same sort of driving programme we do and looking at how to do things better.

Wes says it was a good refresher and enjoyed the great speakers including Greg Murphy who talked about ‘Drive the Brain’, a session focused on the impacts that fatigue, stress, and distraction have on drivers, with practical tips to combat these.

“It was a real reminder about looking after yourself – if you don’t do that you can’t help others to get to where they want to go.”

The session on ADHD and how it impacts on learning to drive and sitting a test was also highly relevant says Wes. “That was a highlight for me because it was an opportunity to think about the tools we are already using and sharpening those up. It definitely gave me a different insight into what we say and the way we say things to our clients, that was very valuable.”

A Dragons Den presentation gave attendees an opportunity to present their best ideas and tips.

Salā Henry Samia, our General Manager, says there was an excellent presentation from the Salvation Army in Christchurch around their Community Driver Mentor programme.

“They’re busy developing a resource for these mentors which will include recruitment, looking after mentors and how to celebrate successes. We’ve been interested in beefing up our driver mentor programme and this resource will be invaluable; it means we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They have over 100 volunteer driving mentors – something we can aspire to,” says Henry.

Government agencies also attended the conference giving Wes a chance to solidify a relationship with VTNZ and arrange for learner licence tests to take place on-site at Partners Porirua.

“This is a fantastic result for us meaning our young people can put aside their nerves and focus on the content as they’ll be doing the test in a familiar environment. It means we can get 30 rangatahi through their tests on one day (three times the normal number) and there’s no waiting around, so less time off school.”

The Driving Change Network is a diverse group of more than 650 stakeholders representing the community, industry, Iwi/Māori and philanthropy sectors who support driver education, training and licensing.

Henry has been on the Steering Group for Driving Change Network for a year and works with a sub-committee of Pacific providers within the Network, to make sure the Pacific voice is heard.

“There are cohorts of Pacific providers around the country, and we all face the same challengers and barriers, including that often English is a second language. It’s important for us to continue to lobby the government to make sure things like translations are correct, up to date and relevant – this network is a good platform for that voice,” says Henry.