A driver training program which helps Aboriginal people in the Kimberley avoid trouble with the law while also boosting their job readiness has been recognised with a prestigious award. Life Without Barriers’ driver training program operates throughout the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields, and supports Indigenous people to get the necessary driving hours and skills needed to secure their licence. The program was recently recognised with the prestigious Regional Safety Award at the 2021 Western Australian Community Achievement Awards, beating out a strong field of community contributors Life Without Barriers driver training program director Fiona Moriarty said the impact having a licence had on the lives of Aboriginal people living in remote communities was immeasurable. “If you are living up the Dampier Peninsula and don’t have a licence then it’s really hard to get menial day-to-day tasks done — you can’t get away from abusive relationships, you can’t drop the kids at school and you can’t easily go and do the shopping,” she said. “Not having a licence is also one of the single largest barriers for entry to the workforce; you can’t get a job on a mine-site without a manual licence, even if it’s not necessarily a driving job. “But the going rate for a driving lesson is about $80 per hour, that’s a lot of money, so this program is really filling a gap and preventing the cycle of joblessness created by living so remote.” LWBDTP instructor Russell Edmunds, who spent years as a police officer in the Pilbara, said the visible impact the program had on students was reward enough. “Some of the people we teach really don’t have strong role models in their life,” he said. “Something as small as being their driving instructor and providing positive feedback and advice really does make such a difference.” “The students start to take pride in the responsibility they are taking on — it’s the first step for many of them on a journey to adulthood.” Ms Moriarty said the program had become so popular it struggled to keep up with demand.