Ballarat's L2P driving program is looking for more volunteer mentors to give young learner drivers the opportunity to practice for their driving test.
More than 85 young people are on the waiting list for the L2P Program in Ballarat. It could be a six to 12 month wait before they are matched with a volunteer mentor.
Ballarat Foundation L2P coordinator Emma Hart said gaining a driver's license was a life-changing event for young people.
She said more volunteers were needed to help provide that opportunity to those who need support.
"A driver's licence can mean the difference between employment and unemployment," she said.
Volunteer mentors supervise young learner drivers who do not have access to a car or a supervising driver, providing them support to complete the 120 hours of practice needed to sit their driving test.
Young people involved in the program come from various backgrounds; they may have left home for study, be living in residential homes, or living with parents who can not drive.
A driver's licence can mean the difference between employment and unemployment.Emma Hart, L2P coordinator
Ms Hart said the program was looking for volunteers who will be a positive role model, bring skills, experience and encouragement to a learner in a non-threatening and safe environment.
Ballarat school bus driver Gerard Nagle has been a volunteer L2P mentor for four years.
He said being a mentor was about more than just teaching young people how to drive, but also having a relationship that can make a positive impact on their life.
"Young people may run issues by you and you can give advice. Because you are not a paid social worker and you are not family, they might discuss issues with you they would not raise with anyone else," he said.
"Not only does L2P give young people the opportunity to get a license, it gives them the opportunity to realise there are other adults out there who are prepared to take an interest in their lives. They gain life skills as well like learning to commit and being on time."
Around 60 people currently volunteer for the Ballarat L2P Program, but more are needed to keep up with demand. Volunteer mentors are asked to commit to two hours driving time per week.
Young people learning to drive have lessons with professional driving instructors before being paired with a volunteer mentor. The Ballarat L2P Program will run mentor training days on August 2 and September 13.
Contact L2P Coordinator Emma Hart on 5331 5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.