After joining the Wirrpanda Foundation’s Aboriginal Driver Training program close to two years ago, Annette O’Malley has successfully gained her driver’s licence.
Yarning with Annette you can tell she knows all too well the restrictions of not having her driver’s licence, having experienced the impact on employment opportunities for both herself and her family.
”I ended up getting my young son involved [in the program] as well and now I’ve got a couple of nephews too…the thing is with the licence you get more work.
“We’ve put out nearly 200 hundred applications and every time it’s like ‘if you had your P’s we’d take you.’”
Annette says that without the support of the Foundation and Mentor Kylie she may have given up on getting her licence.
“You’ll find a couple of kids will just give up after a while and if they haven’t got that support they won’t go back they’ll just say ‘Oh well, bugger it.’”
“I got to that stage too… one part there I was thinking bugger it..
“Yeah I had to ring you up and say ‘No you’re going,’” interjects a laughing Kylie.
“Yeah and then I passed and it was like, I had to just calm down, slow down, it was that thing.” Annette says.
The former mine site worker is now looking forward to getting back into employment, with perhaps an industry change.
“I’m hoping to go on and get my HR again, because I want to try and drive the busses in Perth, I’ve had experience driving busses out at the mine sites,” she says.
“There’s not that many Aboriginal bus driver’s you see in Perth so that could be a change you know, to have more Aboriginal people going into that field as well.
“You’re connecting with other Aboriginal people that are getting on the bus you know they might not feel so intimidated if they got someone that they know… like a familiar face.”
The Aboriginal Driver Training program supported by Aboriginal Workforce Development Centre provides job seekers assistance with attaining their driver’s licence in order to increase opportunities for long term, meaningful employment.
Since the inception in 2014, the program has commenced over 150 participants with over 60 gaining their full driver’s licence.