In August last year, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) with the support of Transurban developed the ASRC Driving Program. The program, which has now been running for almost 12 months is designed to assist those seeking asylum in Melbourne to obtain their driver's licence.

So far more than 500 driver training sessions have been provided by a combination of volunteer driving coaches and professional instructors to ASRC clients, and some have even resulted in those client's obtaining their Australian driver's licence.

Having a driver's licence is a key factor in integrating in to a community, and can significantly improve the chances of finding employment. A simple enough task that a lot of us take for granted can actually be a very challenging one for those new to the community.

Paul Barcham, ASRC Grants Manager says that many of the participants of the ASRC Driver Program are experienced drivers but do not hold Australian licences or have experience on Australian roads. Often they do not have the support of a qualified driver to assist with driving lessons, and due to unemployment often cannot afford professional lessons. Access to this program helps mitigate those challenges and provides the driver training required to prepare for the Australian licence test.

"Thanks to the generosity of Transurban, the ASRC has been able to begin addressing this challenge over the past year. We now feel confident that we have developed a model which can overcome the mobility challenges experience by our members," Paul said.

"This program was only made possible thanks to the unwavering commitment of Transurban, coupled with the compassion of our volunteer driving coaches."

This program, like most of the ASRC's other initiatives, is primarily driven by volunteers. More than 300 driver training sessions were conducted by volunteer coaches.

The ASRC currently provide over 30 assistance programs including foodbanks, education and housing support. Largely funded by the community, the programs have reached more than 3,000 people and support the ASRC's vision that all people seeking asylum have their human rights upheld and receive the support and opportunities they need to live independently.

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