Getting a licence to chill

Lauiga Toma and Tuaumu Tuaumu have earned their New Zealand driving licence.

Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool have been leading a drive to get their workers fully qualified to drive on Bay of Plenty roads in recent months.

The Te Puke based packing and cool store company identified a need to help both New Zealand and overseas (RSE) workers obtain their full driving licences.

A co-ordinator was brought in to help workers go through the application process and a driving instructor within the company provided expert practical tutoring.

Jodi Johnstone, Trevelyan’s human resource manager, says that this added support helped workers on learners, restricted or even without a licence, move toward gaining their full credentials.

“It was just to support them and for multiple reasons it was beneficial for them. One, you have achieved something. Two, they are not putting themselves in a position where they can get fines. It is a win-win for us.”

Chelsea Nicholson had previously been stuck on her learner’s licence for seven years and after receiving her restricted licence promised not to repeat the wait. With the help of the initiative she passed her test in Whakatane on the first attempt.

“Most of it was just the motivation you needed to go and do it. They gave us a good push for what we needed to give us the confidence to go and do it.”

For the RSE workers Trevelyan’s combined with Vakameasina, an education and development programme for seasonal horticultural workers.

They tailored a programme specifically toward obtaining a New Zealand driver’s licence. Despite the challenges of sitting a theory test in their second language Trevelyan’s has again enjoyed success with this sub-group of workers.

“It has been hugely successful,” Jodi beamed. “It is a real achievement for these guys to have a New Zealand licence as it is higher regarded than a Samoan one.”

Lauiga Toma is from Samoa and is an RSE worker with Trevelyan’s. He earned his New Zealand licence on Christmas Eve.

“New Zealand is a big country compared to ours and the roads are different so driving here we need to have more focus on the road and more understanding of the driving. It is amazing and an awesome chance for us to get this.”

Another RSE worker, Tuaumu Tuaumu, earned his full licence just this week and Jodi is over the moon that workers, from all walks of life, are achieving this goal.

“They are like our family. I am so proud of them.”

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