West Dunbartonshire Council is offering funding for driving lessons and a practical test to people aged between 17 and 24 through the Support to Drive scheme.

The initiative, which first launched in 2014, will primarily focus on helping young apprentices and young people who have required support from the care system.

Applications for the scheme will be accepted between June 12 and June 23 with successful candidates given an appointment to complete a mock theory test on June 27.

The 50 highest scoring participants within the designated categories will be invited to join the scheme, meaning they can access up to 20 lessons.

The selection process for 2019-20 will help ensure that young people who would benefit most from gaining their driving licence in relation to employability needs can access the programme.

Forty per cent of places will be offered to modern apprentices who, with a driving licence, will be able to compete for a wider range of jobs in the council area.

While 20 per cent of places will be reserved for people who have needed help from the care system.

Applicants who are unemployed with two or more barriers – including a disability, low skills, lack of qualifications, low confidence, and young carers – will also be prioritised.

Councillor Diane Docherty, convener of housing and communities, said: “A driving licence has many different benefits for young people.

“From an employment point of view it widens their geographical remit for vacancies, but it also gives them a sense of independence, and confidence, which are excellent attributes for the world of work.

“I wish every applicant the best of luck.”

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James Sutherland, 22, a learning assistant and lead young person for West Dunbartonshire Champions Board, passed his test after starting his lessons in October 2018.

He added: “This scheme has benefited me massively. With my driving licence I can now be more involved with my position within the council.

“It has also given me more potential opportunities with universities further away from home when I’m applying next year.

“Being able to just hop in the car and drive places really does make a massive difference with day-to-day tasks.

“The process from start to finish with the Support to Drive scheme has been really smooth. My instructor Douglas Campbell was fantastic.

“He was calm and approachable and put me at ease while doing my lessons.

“I would highly recommend this scheme to anyone thinking of applying as it will make a huge difference to your daily life and opportunities available to you.”

To find out whether you are eligible and for more information, please apply at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5BJFLYX.

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