21 Nov
21 November 2017

Manfeild demonstrates NDTC reach

INVITEES to today’s significant Manawatu event addressing driver training for secondary school students were exposed to a rich diversity of activity.

The National Driver Training Centre, based at Manfeild, has hosted a promotion for school principals, career advisors, gateway co-ordinators, Government departments, corporate partners and funders to showcase existing courses along with future opportunities the emergent venture aims to provide in 2018 and beyond.

Guided demonstration of current activities plus insight into additional involvements still under development was provided, with displays in and around Manfeild Stadium and the Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon suites and track.

Visitors also had opportunity to meet some of the students, mainly from Feilding and Palmerston North, who have already achieved learner driver licences through NDTC.

Centre project lead Michael Barbour says a big turnout of more than 70 guests reinforced thought that this initiative has the firm attention of regional experts, not simply within secondary school education but a broader sphere of tuition.

“This day of widespread activity was a major undertaking for us but timely,” he said.

“The NDTC has made a strong start and we are now in the position to demonstrate how we intend to deliver driver licenses and other vehicle operability certifications to secondary school students in 2018 and beyond.

“The importance of having a driver licence to perform many jobs and travel reliably to and from work drove us to create NDTC,” Mr Barbour said.

“There is widespread recognition that a 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 at least a restricted driver licence, associated NCEA credits and even a defensive driving certificate before they enter the workforce.

The impetus to date has been on guiding the region’s students through achieving their learner’s qualification to enable them to start driving cars, but intent is to branch to tuition in riding scooter and also forklifts.

The car-driving course has the support of Toyota New Zealand.

The Palmerston North-based national sales leader in passenger and light commercial vehicles has generously provided three examples of its Prius PHV, a plug-in electric vehicle version of the world’s best-selling hybrid car.

The PHV gives what is thought to be unique national opportunity for students to experience their tuition in an electric car.

The open day also put the spotlight on potentials for instruction on other forms of mobility.

Attendees were able to view demonstration of basic scooter and motorcycle handing skills run by provider Two Bald Bikers but involving student riders.

Forklift training is also coming to the curriculum and Palmerston North-based Central Forklift Group provided taster exposure to its training methodology on this specialist machinery.

“A forklift licence is a valuable credential,” said Mr Barbour.  “Our intention is to guide students under professional supervision through a first-steps process and also provide additional training for adult operators.”

Also giving demonstrations were learner license exam guidance specialist iHow, Elite Training Services – which teaches confidence-building through rope access –  truck rental agency TR Group, highlighting big vehicle manoeuvring skills, and Driving Simulator NZ, whose technology helps students acquaint with real-life driving scenarios.

Also on the schedule was a panel discussion, involving Police, a local principal and a student who had experienced the NDTC process, and a presentation about the centre’s aims and activities.

Horizons Regional Council provided a road safety advisory display and also attending were Palmerston North young adult tertiary provider UCOL, ACC, Manawatu Chamber of Commerce, VTNZ and Higgins Group.



Caption: Attendees at today’s National Driver Training Centre open day at Manfeild undertake a fun driver licence preparation skills test with tutors from exam guidance specialist iHow.

Photo by: Simone Viljoen