A PARTNERSHIP between a Nissan dealership in South Wales and a charity has put young people on the road to success.
Griffin Mill in Pontypridd has loaned a Nissan Micra to Grow Enterprise Wales (GrEW) for its charity driving school.
GrEW gives volunteers free driving lessons in the dual-controlled Micra – in return for them giving up at least 15 hours of their time in the community every week.
Its paid trainees also get lessons at a discounted rate of just £5.
The project has just celebrated its second year with a total of 700 hours of lessons being clocked up in the Nissan Micra, while 21 young people have passed their driving test.
Two of those currently benefiting from the scheme are Callum Bethell and Claire Phillips.
Callum, 17, of Glyncoch, who works as a trainee painter and decorator for GrEW, said: “To be able to get a driving licence would be a massive boost.
“It will open so many doors for me, especially as a painter and decorator.
“The Nissan Micra is a great car to learn in. I’d never be able to afford to learn to drive without this scheme.”
Claire, 33, a mum-of-four, from Pontypridd, works as a cleaner for GrEW.
She said: “I had never driven a car before as I couldn’t afford it. But now I’ve had about 20 lessons in the Nissan Micra and am confident of passing my test by June.
“To be able to drive will mean so much to me. I will be able to take my family different places.”
Getting a driving licence drastically improves young people’s job prospects, say GrEW.
The project was set up after figures showed 90% of GrEW trainees didn’t have a licence – not because they didn’t want or need one, but because of the cost of lessons.
Driving instructor Barrie Whiles added: “In recent years I have seen many people drop off a driving course as they found the cost too prohibitive.
“This school is giving people a real opportunity to get the skills they need to find work and it is good to be a part of that.”
Griffin Mill Director Mark Pardoe added: “Griffin Mill is delighted to provide GrEW with a Nissan Micra for this totally different approach to a driving school.
“It’s really made a difference. We hope more young people will benefit from this scheme in the years to come.”
GrEW is a social enterprise set up by Pontypridd-based housing association, RCT Homes. Its aim is to get more young people in employment.
Malcolm Wilson, Managing Director of GrEW, said: “We’d like to thank Griffin Mill Garages for the fantastic support they’ve given us.”