In order for a person to survive anywhere on earth they must have three essential commodities: food, water and shelter.
These are the basics for sustaining life.
In order for a job seeker to survive an increasingly demanding Australian workforce and sustain employment, there is one more essential – a driver’s licence.
For those not familiar with the Australian environment we are a nation that is not clustered in high density in a small confined area, but generally speaking, spread like vegemite – thinly over a wide area. This is because we have lots of available space. However, it comes at a price to our young jobseekers. Unfortunately our infrastructure is such that we do not have enough available transport and a high percentage of the workforce must drive to work.
As a result of road fatalities in mainly the 17 – 25yr old age bracket, requirements for gaining a driver’s licence have become tougher and tougher. Only a few short years ago a young person could get his or her driver’s licence within 6 months with maybe only 20 hours as a learner driver. Now they must complete at least 100 hours of supervised instruction/practice, submitting a logbook to Government authorities before actually taking a driving test. The cost to the learner for this whole process can be anywhere from $4000 to $7500 depending on how much assistance they receive along the way. This figure would increase greatly should there be any decision to increase the number of supervised practice hours that has been discussed already.
For a young person this can be prohibitive even for those with a part time job. For those who have parents ‘game’ enough to venture in the family car with their learner at the wheel out onto the OPEN ROAD, they will find it somewhat easier financially. However, this places enormous strain on family relationships. I have known of grown men who have undertaken therapy after such experiences.
The point I am making here is that we have now introduced another major requirement into our job seekers portfolio – a driver’s licence. It again widens the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. If a job seeker does not have a driver’s licence, let alone a car, it reduces the number of jobs they can apply for by 50%. Among those jobs requiring a driver’s licence, 60% will need a manual driver’s licence, not the automatic driver’s licence that a lot of young people find easier to manage.
So, where to from here? Safe and alive versus employed and independent?
This is a tough decision for our young people.
My question is, where is our government dollar best spent? High level industry training programs? Or helping these people get to work in the first place?
No real point in having a qualification if you can’t get to work or not able to drive in your job.
Aren’t we putting the cart before the horse again?