Australia’s first car school driver, who was born deaf, is now on the road.
Read moreA group of former car school students at the University of Adelaide have launched the first national training centre in Australia to cater for deaf and hard of hearing drivers.
The Australian Council for the Deaf is organising a car school in Adelaide to help people with disabilities.
“I’m the first deaf person in Australia, and I’m a part of this program and we’re trying to get a lot of people to go into the industry,” one of the drivers, who only wanted to be known as Dr T, told ABC radio on Friday.
Dr T says it was a lot easier to become a driver than most people realise.
He said he had been in the industry since the age of 16.
“The first thing that I would say is the training that we’re doing, especially in Australia now, is a lot more than just learning to drive,” he said.
“We’re actually working with drivers to develop a skill set.”
Dr T said he would never consider moving to Australia to pursue a career in the car industry.
“My focus right now is on this project and getting my masters,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
The Adelaide-based program is called the Driver’s School and will include a range of training.
“There will be one hour of instruction, and then you’ll get a full course of study, which is about six weeks,” Dr T said.
The course will be offered through the University’s driver training program, but students will also be offered some opportunities in the community.
Dr Nellie Cramer, who has been a driver for 15 years, said it was not easy for her.
“You’re constantly doing your homework and you’re always doing your training,” she said.”[I think] people are really surprised to find out what you’re doing.”
Dr Cramer said some of the people she had worked with had already left the industry because they did not want to be involved in that type of work.
She said it would be difficult for people with a disability to gain a competitive advantage in the field.
“If we don’t take advantage of our skills, then we can’t be competitive with other people who are,” she told ABC Adelaide.
She was the only driver at the first car park in the Adelaide CBD.
“When I first went there, there was a total of eight people there, and there were only three drivers.
So it was really difficult for me, because it’s not a competition.”
It was a very tough environment, because I was just trying to learn a lot,” she explained.
The program will run through the summer, and will provide the drivers with a good learning environment.
Dr Cramers daughter, Jody, is also an Australian deaf driver.”
She was able to go to the training, she learnt to drive, and that’s something that all of us need to be able to do,” she noted.
Jody, who is in her 20s, was in the first driver class for a group of about 15 people, but she says she was the last one to complete the training.
She told ABC ABC Adelaide:”It’s really tough.
We just got a bit of a sense of achievement, but not too much.
“At the end of the day, we’re still in this program, and we have a long way to go.”
People are still learning about the skills and the skills are not very good.