Supporting people to gain their driver’s licence has been a career-long passion for Hastings Police officer Senior Constable Chris Leppien.
Whether it’s seasonal workers or high school students, Chris is hands-on helping them on their journey to obtain their learner’s, restricted and full licences.
The latest project has been at Havelock North High School, where she has taken a three-pronged approach working with parents, students and teachers to get more young people behind the wheel.
The first step was a parent/student evening where Chris shared recordings and tip sheets to help parents and students with information needed to pass the practical driving test.
“We also took the opportunity to encourage parents to get their children’s driving hours up before we held a practical driving week later in the month,” says Chris.
Following on from the information evening, Chris and teachers at Havelock North High worked with a group of students to get them ready to sit their learner’s driver licence test.
The VTNZ mobile licencing unit then travelled from Wellington and set up at the school and 38 students passed the test.
A virtual driving tool was available to students.
The final step was a practical driving week, where students were given driving lessons with Drive IQ and a limited number who were ready sat their restricted licence.
Others were taken for lessons and given feedback on where they need to improve, on their way to sitting their practical test.
Chris says the whole project was aimed at making it easier for young people to get their driver's licence.
“It is quite a journey to gain a driver’s licence and if we can help people get there it’s a huge win," says Chris.
Havelock North High School Transition Services Manager Helen Tasker says students are more employable with a restricted licence.
“The hope is students leave as confident, safe drivers and more options open to them with a driver’s licence in their pocket."
Helen says they have had extremely positive feedback from students and parents to the latest initiative.
“It has been so great to be able to see the students gain more confidence and knowledge and self-belief," she says.