The freedom and independence of driving is something most of us take for granted, but many young people struggle to get their licence if they don’t have access to a supervising driver or vehicle.
Not having a driver’s licence can limit a young person’s goals for work, study and housing, so the Salvation Army is making learning to drive more equitable through its Drive for Life program.
The inclusive program matches learner drivers aged 16 to 23 with volunteer mentors who can help them achieve their licence and reach their full potential.
Drive for Life participants get access to a safe vehicle, road safety training, professional driving lessons and a supervising driver to help them complete their 120 logbook hours.
The Drive for Life program is funded by TAC to provide its services in the municipality, with in-kind support from the City of Melbourne. Over the years, more than 10,000 young people have taken part in the program nationwide.
Beyond creating safe and confident road users, Drive for Life also connects young people to life mentoring and support, helping them feel more aspirational and connected to their communities.
Helping Clement get his licence
It’s a breezy spring day in the suburbs of Melbourne and Clement Chang is getting ready for his first session with Drive for Life mentor Yung Huynh.
With his family in Adelaide and the high cost of driving lessons a major barrier, Clement felt it would be impossible to get access to a driving instructor and vehicle to get his licence.
“My case manager was asking me what my goals were for the year and I said – I’m 22, I really need to get my licence. So they connected me with the Drive for Life program,” Clement said.
“I’m studying health science and next year I’ll have work placements, so it’s important that I get my licence soon.”
Clement’s mentor Yung, who also works for the Salvation Army, is a big advocate for the Drive for Life program. She is seeking new mentors to help more young people achieve their licence, and their dreams.
“We take family for granted. Not everyone is able to ask mum or dad to take them out in the car,” Yung said.
“Some young people really don’t have any other way to get their licence and it’s a really big thing in their lives if you can help them achieve that goal. If you have some spare time, becoming a Drive for Life mentor is a really worthwhile and rewarding way to spend it.”
Looking to the future, Clement is looking forward to the freedom of driving further afield to enjoy the great outdoors.
“I’m a big backpacker, and I love to hike. To access the great bushwalking trails, it’s essential to be able to drive,” Clement said.
“I’m really thankful that I found the Drive for Life program – it’s amazing!”
How to get involved in Drive for Life
The Salvation Army is seeking to recruit more volunteer mentors for its Drive for Life program.
To be eligible, you need a current unrestricted driver’s licence, maturity to bring to a mentoring relationship with a young person, a desire to improve road safety, and just two hours per fortnight or month.
Drive to Life learners must be aged 16 to 23, with a current learner’s permit, and without access to a vehicle, a supervising driver, or both.
More programs and services for young people in the City of Melbourne
The City of Melbourne runs a range of programs and events for young people aged 12 to 25 throughout the year.
This includes activities at City of Melbourne venues like our libraries and SIGNAL creative arts studio, and special activities during school holidays and Youth Fest.
To browse everything on offer, visit For young people.