On any given day, Len Balk and Ross Banno can be seen making their way down the long corridor of the Nirimba Business Centre, to the National Driver Training (NDE) office, one of 30 small or developing businesses operating out of the centre. This duo is in a serious business, the business of saving lives on Australian roads. It’s a long way from their former roles in the NSW Police Service.
Len was the senior police driving Instructor with 35 years service and Ross was a field training officer with 15 years service, working with the metro and regional police stations on their driver development. Both spent many years on highway patrol and Len also spent many years in the motorcycle police.
The driver training duo know better than most how lethal driving a car can be. They created NDE in 2003 because they saw a need for basic driver training and because they saw, too many times, how inexperience and poor decisions while driving panned out. And it was the 17-25 year olds that were most often involved.
“The 17-25 age group is considerably over represented in the crash statistics and we wanted to put a program in place to help reduce this. We are in partnership with the Lions Club, PCYC and other organisations to provide courses for this age group.” said Ross.
The other major group that NDE works with is the corporate market, also an over represented group in the crash statistics. Road crashes are the largest cause of work related injuries resulting in time away from the workplace and 30 per cent of fatal crashes are work related.
Len and Ross are quick to point out that, their course “is not a defensive driver training course, but it’s about reducing your risk each time you drive on the road, whether it is driving for work or taking the family on a road trip’.
“We never want to stand still. So we are continuously researching and developing new products and developing partnerships. We feel this is the best way forward with a little bit of help from technology and online processes. This is augmenting what we do face to face. Expanding more into the market rather than expanding the size of the business and hopefully expanding the NDE turnover as well.”
“NDE is an honourable business where we assist people in staying safe. The feedback we get continually is, thank you for telling me this information that I need. Hopefully they do use it. It is very satisfying in that sense,” said Ross.
“The downside of being in business for yourself is coping with the tax regime, which can make life difficult for a small business. And some companies are very slow in paying their bills, which can create a cash flow problem or rather challenges,” said Len.
Both men agree that moving into the Nirimba Business Centre in Quakers Hill has helped them establish and build NDE and that going into business has met their expectations. They attribute success to their expertise and dedication to teaching people how to stay safe and the high quality and practical courses they provide.
And importantly, more awareness that the roads are a dangerous place and that drivers do need training, particularly youth.
For more information about National Driver Education go to www.nationaldrivereducation.com.au or Ph. 9853 3243.
By Eric Elu, Work Placement Student, Chifley College – Bidwill
I was so scared coming in on my first day to do my work placement; thinking what will happen, but a lady approached me with the biggest smile. Her name was Robyn Macdonald. She greeted me and already knew who I was. I felt so comfortable after she said hello. Later on, I met Robyn Wilms, who was to be my supervisor for the week and Kerrie Tindall who was another great worker in the office with me.
My stay at BREED has been amazing; I learnt how the office operates and what the people do around here. The staff are so kind and caring, it just made my time here a pleasure; it actually felt like I’ve been around for years.
BREED is a great organisation doing great things for kids my age and I’d just like to thank BREED for giving me the opportunity of working here and letting me get the experience on how a business like BREED works.
Stephen Gummerson, Partnership Broker
Consulting with Schools and employers over the last few months, has led to the successful Metals Forum that was held at Mt Druitt TAFE on the 25th July, facilitated by BREED as a potential community partnership.
Whilst there is more work to be done on the strategies, it was great to see about 30 representatives book in, from schools teaching Metals, Industry organisations such as AIG, and employers large and small such as the NSW Division of BOC Gases, offering to work together on strategic solutions for Western Sydney. These representatives showed they care about the big picture, which is what Partnerships need in order to make any lasting improvement.
The Metals industry (both schools and employers) have faced barriers to success. They are doing their best, but they recognised there is much that they could work on together, that would increase the success of strategies they wanted to try.
The Metals industry is being squeezed by many pressures and has had to become vastly more efficient, however, the urban myth that manufacturing is dead has not proved to be true, but it has led to a large skills shortage as not enough young people show interest in the sector over the last few decades.
The offers of help, with schools sharing best practice with each other, and of employers strategically being able to inspire youth in Metals are there, they just need matching up. Manufacturing want to inspire young people earlier to have a positive impact on the attitude to learning and employability skills, that employers look for in the best workers.
There were good ideas shared by everyone, and some strategies discussed that would have started before now if they had a way of sharing these ideas. Being part of a structured partnership can help bring ideas and solutions together for the benefit of young people and benefit business. If you are a parent who wants to be involved in increasing the number of young people being trained in Metals in the Region, or your organisation wants to get involved, please feel free to contact one of our team here at BREED.
BREED is a community organisation funded by the Australian and NSW Governments to:
By Harley McGregor, Independent Employment Advisor
83 per cent of students participating in the BREED Independent Employment Advisory (IEA) program in the 1st and 2nd term of this year said that they would now look at TAFE and TVET or further study as an option to gain employment pathways following a day long industry tour of Mt Druitt TAFE.
The IEA program works with students who find that the traditional main stream educational pathways do not work for them.
The 38 students participating in the IEA Program’s 10 week course were from Riverstone, Evans and Rooty Hill High Schools from the Blacktown Region and the grand finale for this program was a day long industry tour. The tour provided awareness for students of what course they might move into directly from High School.
The day commenced with presentations from career counsellors and course information officers followed by a tour of Mt Druitt TAFE facilities. Students were able to meet with teachers and students from the following industries: Panel Beating, Spray Painting, Hospitality, Electrical, Plumbing, Welding/Metal Fabrication, Signcraft, Beauty/Makeup and Hairdressing. The participating students got to see first-hand the requirements to complete training in these industries.
At the conclusion of the tour the students were treated to a three course Silver Service buffet luncheon at Mt Druitt TAFE’s training restaurant, ‘Create’. This was a great learning experience, as some students had not experienced eating in a fine dining restaurant before. The Create Restaurant kitchen and floor wait staff (students in training from the hospitality department) came out at the conclusion to speak to the IEA students and participated in a question and answer session.
Create is aligned with the hospitality department where their students get firsthand experience in all aspects of running a restaurant. For more information about create Restaurant Click Here or Ph. 9208 6393.
The response from students has been fantastic. Of the 38 students from the three schools who participated in the tour: 37 % said they learned a little, 63% said they learned a lot, 100% of participants said they are more educated about how TAFE can help them and the courses that are available and 84% said they would now participants in TAFE or TVET or further study.
I’d like to give a big thank you to the staff from Mt Druitt TAFE. With a special mention to April Bailey, who was instrumental in making the day a great success. Also to Riverstone, Evans and Rooty Hill High Schools who allowed their students to participate.
For more information on how the Independent Employment Advisors Program can help you, please contact Harley McGregor at BREED on 0410 433 481 or firstname.lastname@example.org