10 May 2022

Helping indigenous youth drive to succeed

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(L to R) Wanderer Program Driver Mentor Kyle Merritt and Alcoa Kwinana Community Relations Officer Ashley Wright.

Alcoa’s Kwinana refinery has partnered with the McGovern Foundation to help support indigenous youth in the Kwinana, Rockingham and Cockburn area to gain their driving licence through the Wanderer Program.

A $35,000 contribution will support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners to access necessary resources to complete the 50 to 70 hours of supervised driving needed to gain a provisional licence.

The Wander Program is a specifically targeted driver mentor program that increases the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who obtain and maintain their licence to drive.  

McGovern Foundation Managing Director, Andrew McGovern said one of the greatest barriers to Aboriginal employment is often the simple lack of a driver’s licence.

“There are many contributing factors to this problem, including limited access to vehicles, the support of a responsible adult and the cost of completing 50 hours of supervised driving required to gain a driver’s licence,” Mr McGovern said.

The program ensures trained indigenous driver mentors work from start to finish with participants to establish strong relationships necessary to access roadworthy vehicles, help with identification documents, complete relevant driving lessons and practical driving assessments.

Kwinana Alumina Refinery Manager David Feast said Alcoa was committed to working with the local community to improve opportunities for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

“Whether or not these kids end up working for Alcoa, we are just happy we could help remove one of the barriers they face in gaining stable employment or furthering their education,” Mr Feast said.

Alcoa’s Reconciliation Action Plan outlines the company’s desire to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through both procurement upskilling and opportunities along with training and employment.