23 Aug
23 August 2017

Manfeild driver course in synch

GROWING political interest in introducing driving classes to high school students has been welcomed by an emergent local provider.

The National Driver Training Centre, operating from Manfeild, has already begun training the region’s students, with a high pass rate.

Michael Barbour, the NDTC project leader, says the recent national focus on preparing youngsters for the road, is heartening.

Over the past few weeks the Labour Party and New Zealand First have each pledged to introduce training programmes and Local Government New Zealand has also spoken out on the subject.

“The importance of a driver licence to perform many jobs and travel reliably to and from work is the primary factor for us undertaking the NDTC,” Mr Barbour said.

“That two political parties and an organisation that speaks for all local bodies are also bringing this thought to the forefront simply cements that we were right in investing into our own programme.

“I believe our thought processes are mutual – we all recognise that lack of a driver licence is a significant barrier for youth seeking employment, which negatively impacts the social and economic viability of communities.”

Manfeild’s ambition is to see students achieve a restricted licence, associated NCEA credits and even a defensive driving certificate before they enter the workforce.

The NDTC programme also takes a future-now step with students having opportunity to drive an electric car.

“Thanks to our friends at Toyota New Zealand we have had, as our training vehicle, an advanced version of the Prius that, due to its plug-in hybrid technology, has ability to run exclusively on electric propulsion,” Mr Barbour said.

“Electric vehicles are very much in the public eye and the Government aiming not only to have 64,000 on the road by the end of 2021 and also saying it intends to prioritise battery-first vehicles for their fleet use.

“It is great that we have a car that provides a first taste for students of a technology that is set to be part of their daily adult lives.”

In addition to offering a unique point of difference the Prius PHV also presents the prospect of clear operational savings that come from running a car on locally produced, 80 percent renewable electricity rather than imported oil.

For more information contact
Michael Barbour
National Driver Training Centre project leader
027 488 5679