A NEW partnership with RACQ is helping ARTIE Academy students stay on the road to success. After a positive pilot program, the ARTIE Academy Driver Licence Program will be extended for 2019 and 2020, with RACQ coming on board to help get young Queenslanders safely behind the wheel. ARTIE Academy Education Coordinator Andrea Warren said the Driver Licence Program was keenly anticipated by the students. “We offer the program to students enrolled in years 10 and 11, and they have to be 16 years old by the end of the year,” Andrea said. “They get 10 hours of driving instruction, and then at the end of that, we also pay for them to get their provisional licence. “We have had about 70 students go through the program since its inception, and the success rate is very high. “Some students take a little longer than others, but the students are very keen to take advantage of the program.” Like other reward elements of the ARTIE Academy, their participation in the Driver Licence Program is dependent on satisfactory academic results and attendance records. “They do have to meet certain criteria to be a part of the program,” Andrea explained. “They have to achieve at least 90 per cent in attendance to be able to go through to complete the program as well as a good behaviour record with no suspensions.” The benefits of the program are enormous for the successful students. While a driver’s licence obviously increases their freedom and responsibilities as young adults, practically speaking, the ability of being able to attend job interviews, work or education with a licence to drive was invaluable. “There are a lot of students whose parents just can’t afford to pay for a driver’s licence, or for driving instruction,” Andrea said. “When you are looking at $50 an hour for a lesson, that is a lot of money for someone who is not working. “One of the reasons the program was created was not just to help out those families, but to enable Indigenous students to get into the workforce a little bit quicker. “With a driver’s licence, they are able to get themselves to job interviews, or to work. “In the past, not having a licence and not being able to get around quickly might have been something that was getting in the way of them doing those things. “This program is a huge opportunity for students.” RACQ Sponsorship Coordinator Carolyn Gibbs said working together with FOGS to spread the message about road safety, and changing the lives of young Indigenous Queenslanders was a perfect fit for RACQ. “RACQ is proud to partner with FOGS to support the ARTIE Academy Drivers Licence Program ,” she said. “Road safety is at the core of what we do every day, and this partnership will increase the safety message delivered in Queensland Schools. “We are excited to deliver our award winning Docudrama program at ARTIE schools throughout 2019. “This partnership can change the trajectory of these students’ lives and help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students. “We couldn’t think of a better fit between RACQ and the ARTIE Academy Drivers Licence Program.”   This article was written for the FOGS Queenslander Magazine, to read more click here.