More and more students are graduating High School without their driver’s licenses. This can be a barrier to employment and is having an impact on industry. With an eye to seeing our students succeed after graduation, Swan Hills School invited Lorraine Jackson from Careers: The Next Generation and Dave MacKenzie with Safety Through Education to bring the Learn2Drive workshop to our school.
This program, which was developed as an interactive kit here in Swan Hills by MacKenzie and Municipal Librarian and PHPS Trustee, Nancy Keough, helps students learn and understand the regulations required to pass their learner’s test. Careers: The Next Generation, a non-profit organization focused on helping youth find paths to employment, has identified the Learn2Drive program as an effective tool to improve the employability of graduates. Currently provided by public libraries, this pilot program is taking the workshop into schools around the province with funding provided by a government grant.
A dozen High School and Junior High students participated in the half-day program at Swan Hills School. After learning basic regulations relating to signage (differentiated by shape and colour), speed zones, right-of-way, etc., students practiced scenarios laid out on puzzle-like tiles configured into various types of roadways and intersections. Upon learning these basics applied to a traffic circle, one student expressed surprise at the simplicity of its navigation, in contrast to remarks he had heard from his parents referring to traffic circles as ‘nightmares’.
Students were given links to practice tests provided by Alberta Transportation, which use the same terminology used on the Alberta learners test, unlike other practice tests on the internet. Identical quizzes taken at the start and completion of the workshop demonstrated students’ greatly improved understanding of the rules of the road, boosted their confidence, and predicted their ability to pass their learner’s tests.