Training on soon for Merri-bek’s volunteer mentor drivers (Media Release)

A Hadfield volunteer mentor driver says he gets “satisfaction in spades” from helping young people earn their driver’s licences.

Eric Kelly, 72, has been a volunteer with the Merri-bek TAC Learner Driver Mentor Program (L2P) for almost nine years and has helped eight young adults gain their licences.

The former school teacher said he usually worked with each student for about 18 months and that he loved being a mentor.

“We are not just teaching them to drive, we are mentoring in other aspects as well,” Mr Kelly said.

“You get them as little kids … by the time we are finished with them, they are young men and young women with a lot more confidence.

“The enjoyment that I get from being with the young people, it helps me stay young.”

The Merri-bek TAC L2P Program helps disadvantaged young people to gain the 120 hours of driving experience required to gain their Probationary Licence, and to become good, safe drivers.

Each volunteer mentor undergoes an interview, screening and training before they are matched with a young person to spend about two hours each week driving with them and teaching them everything from how to drive on a freeway to how to parallel-park and do a three-point turn. A car and petrol are provided.

The learner drivers are aged between 16 and 20 years, live, work or attend school in Merri-bek and are unable to access a fully licensed driver and/or vehicle to gain driving experience.

L2P mentor training sessions are conducted throughout the year. The next one will be run by the Merri-bek TAC L2P Program and is on Saturday 30 November, from 9.30 am till 5 pm. Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer mentor driver is invited to contact the Merri-bek L2P Coordinator. Mr Kelly praised the program for providing strong support to both mentors and learner drivers and encouraged others to become volunteers.

“They are going to get satisfaction in spades,” Mr Kelly said.

“It’s a really great feeling to be part of the L2P Program and if anyone’s got time to put in … we would welcome them with open arms.”

The Merri-bek TAC L2P Program is a community-based partnership between the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), VicRoads, the Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network, Merri-bek City Council, Victoria Police and local community-based organisations.

For more information about the mentor training or the Merri-bek TAC L2P Program, please contact Merri-bek L2P Coordinator Fiona Thiessen on 0457 791 480 or email

Volunteer mentor eligibility requirements:

  • 25 years and older
  • Living in Merri-bek
  • Full Victorian driver’s licence
  • Confident driver with successful driving record
  • Available to dedicate approximately two hours per week
  • Interested in working with young people, compassionate, patient and respectful


Training on soon for Merri-bek’s volunteer mentor drivers