Career plans hinge on catching a lift
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
A LACK of public transport in Evans Head meant Year 11 student Guy Dibley faced a tough decision before the school holidays.
Should he follow his dreams of being an art teacher and leave his network of friends at Evans River K-12 school, or continue to deal with the weekly difficulties of getting himself to TAFE in Wollongbar each Monday afternoon. He can't study art in Evans Head because there aren't the numbers and there's no public transport to get to TAFE.
His decision? Starting this term he will attend Lismore High School, catching the only bus out of Evans Head each morning.
Meanwhile, seven of his classmates studying a variety of TAFE courses remain in the same predicament ? reliant on parents to get to Wollongbar or failing that, rustling up a ride wherever they can.
Parent Carol Hughes said she thought it was a big imposition on parents.
"I think it's really difficult because we're in an isolated area and parents work, and it costs me $15 in petrol," she said.
"I have to knock off work to get (my daughter). Every week it's a consideration. It's like, 'Am I going to have to do this for the rest of the year, and for next year'? It's wonderful they've got an opportunity to go to TAFE but I imagine there's children at school who can't go because their parents can't get them there."
Youth worker Kim Wright said lack of transport at Evans Head was the number one issue holding young people back.
"And it's not just education, it's social as well," she said.
"I've seen kids hitchhiking in dangerous places, and at the same time we're hammer- ing P-platers.
"Every kid I know is trying to buy an old car and get their licence.
"The government is saying 'we've got to bring in more skilled labourers for all the trades', but there's no way to access the courses unless they've got a parent who is prepared to drive them."
Peter Skaines, from the Department of Education and Training, said he recognised the disadvantage for kids from Evans Head, however it was not financially feasible to provide a bus for such a small number of students.