The provision of the car and therefore the ability to provide driving lessons to students has been a massive bonus to Manurewa High School and the Trades Academy in particular. One of the biggest barriers to employment is the inability of our students to possess either a Restricted or a Full driving licence. Employers frequently inform us that when receiving job applications they narrow down possible applicants for positions firstly by qualifications and secondly by whether they possess a driving licence.

Lessons have been running on a Tuesday, starting at 9.10am and finishing at 3.10pm. Mid-way through Term 3, we began starting at 8.15am to accommodate extra students. During July 8 students took lessons, 11 students took lessons in August and 12 students took lessons in September.

Mid-term 3, we recognised the importance of concentrating on specific individuals rather than giving as many students as possible the chance of a lesson. This allowed us to ensure that we could ‘cement’ learning in place and ensure continuity. The extra places now on offer will aid in advancing this process and help the many others who are waiting for the chance to take lessons. With the RRT extra funding we can now run lessons over 2 days and expect to be able to support an additional 10 students to gain their licence during term 4.

The intricacies of mastering a manual car take time and our instructor has informed us that the current students involved are all making excellent progress and are close but not quite ready to sit their test. The interruptions of holidays and assessment weeks have affected the timetabling of lessons so next year it is proposed to trial running lessons through the holidays and assessment weeks to maintain continuity. Whilst this may seem simple, it does provide difficulties in ensuring students turn up and/or do not miss assessments. However, we are working to overcome these difficulties.

The positivity that this initiative has generated amongst students is extremely beneficial in encouraging them to participate in the Trades Academy space. This is seen as an ‘added bonus’ to the programme and students are already asking can they have lessons in 2019 to support them to gain their licence.

The support that RRT have offered Manurewa High School in providing the car and towards its upkeep is extremely generous and will now start to show with students preparing to take their tests during the Exam break.

Steve Perks

Trades Academy Director

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