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Partnership

McGovern Foundation celebrates 200 P Plate graduates

Published on 31 August 2023

Travelling to social events. Commuting to job interviews. Taking family members to school, extra-curricular activities, and medical appointments. Being able to drive can mean the difference between an improved quality of life or social isolation, unemployment and struggling to make ends meet.

This month, Mineral Resources (MinRes) is delighted to celebrate the McGovern Foundation’s successful Wanderer Program reaching another major milestone – helping their 200th graduate obtain their driver’s licence.

For the past two years, Wanderer Program driver mentors have worked with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other young people to help them access safe vehicles, obtain their learner’s permit and complete the 50 supervised driving hours required to gain their P Plates.

As Founding Partner, MinRes is proud to commit $1.2 million over four years, supporting the McGovern Foundation to create a stream of mentored, mobile, confident and employable young people to help strengthen WA’s workforce and community.

McGovern Foundation Director and Founder Andrew McGovern proudly displays a photo of all 200 graduates on his wall, representing the success, diversity and rapid growth of the program.

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“I like to call it the wall of success,” Andrew said.

“When important people come into the office, we like to show them the success of the people in the program. It’s been great to watch the wall grow. It’s a reminder of the diversity of the people that we work with.

“Each one has their own unique story. But they all share the courage to overcome adversity and work through the challenges to get their driver’s licence.”

For many young Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other disadvantaged people living in Western Australia, getting a driver’s licence is hard.

Many struggle to provide the identity documents required to obtain a learner’s permit, let alone the financial means to pay for driving lessons.

And if their parents don’t have a licence themselves or access to a safe, roadworthy vehicle, finding a responsible licenced adult to help reach the required 50+ hours of driving before going for a test can be challenging.

According to Andrew, the Wanderer Program’s driver mentor relationship is central to the success of the program.

“The mentoring component is just as important as the driving component,” Andrew said.

“Sitting side by side, building a trusted relationship with the same driver mentor for 50-plus hours of one-on-one mentoring whilst learning to drive has been very successful.

“Two people in a safe environment, sharing stories, challenges, life goals and 50 hours on the road. Magic!”

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For 25-year-old Darryl Graham (pictured above), getting behind the wheel broke a dispiriting cycle of unemployment and isolation.

“I have had no-one to drive me,” Darryl said.

“Usually, I am at home by myself through the day. If you don’t have a licence, you’ve got to sit there and be bored. You can’t go for a drive, go see a friend or go see a family member just for something to do.”

Darryl obtained his manual driver’s licence in August 2023 and his mental health has significantly improved as a result.

“It definitely makes you feel a lot better,” he said. “It keeps you out of depression and has opened employment opportunities.”

Darryl has just completed a Cert 3 in Civil Construction. His new licence has enabled him to secure employment at the start of September.

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Mother of four Zania, 34 (pictured above), has had her learners permit for 17 years, but she did not have the financial means to pay for driving lessons, which can cost up to $100 per lesson.

“I was so desperate to finally get my licence, I found the McGovern Foundation office and personally went in to register for the Wanderer Program, where most people enquire online,” said Zania.

“My driver mentor was Andrew McGovern. He was so patient and understanding. He helped me learn to believe in myself and to manage my anxiety.

“When I passed my test first go, I couldn’t believe it. I hugged the assessor and Andrew.

“I can now drop and pick up my kids from school, enrol them in community sport and not have to rely on others all the time.

“We have lived in Perth for 13 years and we haven’t been anywhere. I can’t wait to go sightseeing.

“I cannot thank Andrew, the McGovern Foundation and Mineral Resources for changing mine and my family’s lives.”

MinRes Chief Executive, Lithium and partnership sponsor Joshua Thurlow reflected on how impactful the Wanderer Program had been since its inception two years ago and how more funding is required to help more West Aussies on the road to success.

“Congratulations to all 200 graduates! MinRes is proud to have supported the Wanderer Program from the beginning,” Joshua said.

“Over the past two years, the Program has invested over 8,000 hours in helping 200 people get their P plates.

“It has opened pathways to employment, built confidence and enabled independence. With 76 per cent of graduates going on to secure a job, the impact it has on people’s lives is evident.

“Demand is so high that there are currently more than 70 people on the waitlist, so I encourage others to support with funding to train more mentors.”

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