Focus area: Driver licencing in schools

Aronga: Ngā raihana hautū i ngā Kura

A driver’s licence is a tool that reduces inequities and increases social inclusion, but of the 28 secondary kura in our region, only 4 currently offer a driver licencing programme. In New Zealand it is estimated that between 70,000 and 90,000 rangatahi face barriers in obtaining a licence which include:

  • cost
  • time
  • navigating the system
  • whānau support
  • identification documents
  • restriction breaches
  • learning challenges
  • a lack of confidence.

These challenges are disproportionately affecting the vulnerable rangatahi in our communities.

Social and employment benefits

The Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) recognises the social and employability benefits of holding a driver’s licence. A licence means improved job opportunities and less reliance on the benefits system. In New Zealand two-thirds of all jobs advertised require a minimum of a restricted licence. It is a way of getting to mahi, important for all, but especially our rural whānau who do not have access to public transport. Rangatahi with a licence are less likely to get driving fines, convictions and custodial sentences, resulting in less engagements with, and interventions by government agencies.

There is a nationwide push to address issues in accessing driver’s licence support in schools. The national Driving Change Network is calling for equitable access in Aotearoa to:

  • driver education
  • training
  • licencing.

Regionally, the Matariki Driving Licencing Collective has been working with partners to increase the number of whānau with driver’s licences. Pre-employment providers are utilising government and charity funding to support their rangatahi to gain their driver’s licence.

Funding barrier

Schools currently offer 2 driver licence unit standards on the NZQA framework and can provide pastoral and careers support to pathway rangatahi into driver licence programmes. There are secondary schools and organisations in the region that deliver driver licencing programmes to ākonga. Connect, William Colenso College with Got Drive Trust and Wairoa Young Achievers Trust are operating successful models that we can look to as exemplars, but for many secondary schools funding is a barrier they cannot overcome. The costs associated with test fees and professional lessons, and internal staff resourcing, often means driver licencing programmes in schools are not feasible.

Rangatahi gaining a driver’s licence has many positive impacts, not only for themselves, but for their whānau, their community and Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole. The RSLG recommends that funding of driver licencing support for secondary schools is prioritised by government agencies for the key social investment return it will provide.

Action | Taumahi

Work in collaboration with government agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, local government, and Matariki Driving Licencing Collective to achieve a funding model that supports free, accessible and tailored driver licencing programmes in Hawke’s Bay high schools.

Recommendation | Tūtohunga

Government agencies and local government ensure secondary schools and kura are resourced sufficiently to provide tailored support to ākonga to attain their driver’s licence whilst at school. This will require a change in agency policy to fund licencing for ākonga in schools and commitment from schools to support programmes.

Last updated: 12 July 2023