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Helping disadvantaged youth get on the road to opportunity and independence

The greatest barrier to Aboriginal employment is often the lack of a driver’s licence, particularly in regional areas.

As part of giving back to the communities in which we live and work, Mineral Resources (MRL) is proud to partner with the McGovern Foundation as the Founding Partner of the Wanderer Program pilot.

This 12-month pilot is a targeted driver mentor program aimed at providing the support and resources necessary to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth obtain – and maintain – their driver’s licence, getting them on the road to opportunity and independence.

The Wanderer Program provides students with a driving instructor who is also a trained mentor. This will not only allow participants to learn to drive safely, they will have someone to guide them, offer advice, gain confidence and build a strong relationships, all while completing the necessary 50 supervised driving hours to obtain their provisional driver’s licence.

On completion of the program, the aim is that participants will have gained more than just their ‘P’ plates, but have increased self-esteem and independence, which are also vital to successfully gaining employment.

First P-Plater Erin Burns and Learner driver Layla Nelson with Andrew McGovern, Managing Director of the McGovern Foundation.

Supporting the WA community and workforce

Through this partnership, MRL and the McGovern Foundation, aspire to create a stream of mentored, mobile, and employable youth to strengthen the Western Australian workforce and community.

The McGovern Foundation Wanderer Driver Mentor Program officially started in June 2021 with two Indigenous staff members working closely with participants, driving schools and the Department of Transport. There are now over 40 participants engaged in the program with numbers increasing every week.

Andrew McGovern, the Foundation’s Managing Director, expressed his thanks to MRL for joining as the Founding Partner and highlighted the benefits of the program.

“By working alongside MRL, we envisage many positive changes to disadvantaged and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. These young people will access 50 hours of supervised driving, enabling them to obtain their WA Drivers Licence, leading to improved employment opportunities.

The McGovern Foundation looks forward to a long and strong relationship with MRL and we congratulate Erin Burns, our first participant to gain her ‘P’ Plates.” Andrew said.

Wanderer Program’s first participant, Erin Burns, gains their provisional driver’s licence

Nineteen-year-old, Carnarvon-born Erin Burns, a first-year Zoology student at UWA is proud to be the first Wanderer Program participant to gain her “P” Plates.

“The McGovern Foundation has made a huge difference in my life by helping me get my licence. I had nobody that could take me driving and I couldn’t afford many lessons.”

“My plan now is to move out of my college residence and find a place to live which feels amazing, as it makes me feel so much more independent.”

“A big thank you to the McGovern Foundation and Mineral Resources for helping me attain my licence, especially to my mentor Andrew for being so patient and for having faith in me. He taught me to be more confident in my life choices and more importantly he taught me all the skills I need to be a good driver.”

MRL is committed to supporting positive Indigenous engagement, action, and outcomes. This is further outlined in our Reconciliation Action Plan, currently undergoing standard review with Reconciliation Australia.

Learn more about our approach to community and Indigenous engagement.

For more information about the Wanderer Program and the McGovern Foundation, visit www.mcgovernfoundation.org.au/