This Christmas, the Herald is featuring 12 charities which have been chosen to get a $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport, as part of its 12 Days of Christmas charity campaign. The $120,000 comes from generous travellers who donate money in globes throughout the airport.

Getting behind the wheel of a car is a huge responsibility - especially if you are a young person just learning to drive.

One charity is working to equip young drivers not only with practical driving skills, but also other techniques that will allow them to be safe on the road.

Road Safety Education Ltd runs a youth programme, dubbed RYDA, in 58 high schools around New Zealand that aims to reduce the youth road toll by educating them on driver safety.


Spokeswoman Maria Lovelock said the initiative helped students to respond positively to challenges on the road - both as a driver and passenger.

"It's a lot broader. It's not just about getting your licence.

"We're focused on cognition development and motivating low-risk behaviour.''

Students taking part in a RYDA session, put on by the Road Safety Education Ltd group. Photo / Supplied
Students taking part in a RYDA session, put on by the Road Safety Education Ltd group. Photo / Supplied

RSE Ltd is one of 12 charities to receive $10,000 in Auckland Airport's 12 Days of Christmas campaign this year.

Lovelock said their grant would be used to run one of its sessions to be held in Auckland next year.

The sessions are held at external locations around the city and brings in mostly year 12 students. Up to 200 students can attend.

The lessons cover issues around speed and stopping, drugs and alcohol.

"We also look at how can you speak up when you're in an unsafe situation.


"If they've got into a car and things have escalated to something they haven't necessarily thought of, it's coming up with strategies to speak up,'' she said.

"Saying something like: 'Hey, look. I really need to go to the loo, can we pop into a petrol station?' And then calling mum to come pick you up instead.''

Auckland Airport spokeswoman Helen James said they were happy that more young people would be able to get a driver's licence - an important step to independence.

"But more importantly, to access education and employment opportunities.''