TAYLA Benson desperately wants to get her licence so she can be more independent.
But she doesn’t always have someone on hand to teach her while she is on her L-plates.
So stepping in is her L2P mentor Rarl Liersch.
“Kids often find it difficult to drive because of a lot of barriers they face,” Mr Liersch said.
“And that shouldn’t mean that they don’t get the same chances as everybody else.”
Tayla, 17, a Link-Up student, said she had clocked up 16 hours of the compulsory 120 hours L-plate drivers must complete before getting their licence.
“I want to get my hours up, get my P plates and be more independent. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone,” she said.
The L2P program received a $16 million state government funding boost on Thursday, with $57,000 allocated to Ballarat over four years.
The community-based program recruits volunteers to provide supervised driving experience to learner drivers under 21 years who find it difficult to meet the 120-hour requirement due to family, economic or other circumstances.
There are currently 28 young drivers in the program locally.
Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said the more hours a learner driver spent behind the wheel the safer they would be.
“Thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, young people in our community who may not have an available parent or guardian can get the experience they need to become safe drivers.”
Buninyong MP Geoff Howard said his own 19-year-old daughter had just got her licence. “Gaining a licence can also build confidence and independence by enhancing mobility and opportunities for increased social connections,” Mr Howard said.
L2P is funded by the TAC and delivered by VicRoads. United Way operates the program in partnership with local community groups, businesses and sponsors.