Published On: 7 November 2023Categories: Stories

A confidence-inspiring local bus driver has helped Amy Maxwell overcome her fears and failures to gain her licence, the biggest achievement of the 20-year-old’s life.

Noelene Burk, a driver with local bus company Kinetic, was a steadying hand on the wheel of Amy Maxwell’s life, particularly when the young TAFE student failed her first two driving tests.

Amy said Noelene was a friend as well as a teacher who instilled confidence and belief in her after a tough few years at school where she was bullied and felt she “couldn’t get anything right”.

“Since high school I have suffered with anxiety in a crowd or where there are loud noises or when having to meet new people,” Amy said.

“I got bullied at school which didn’t help.

“But Noelene was great. I felt calm with her in the car.

“She would tell me funny stories. We had a good time.

“When I failed, she told me to calm down, take deep breaths and stop overthinking it.”

National Joblink put Amy in touch with Devonport Chaplaincy’s Easy P’s Learner Driver Program. The match with Noelene, was a perfect fit.

Noelene, who has driven heavy vehicles all her adult life, has taught her three daughters and a stepson to drive. She is now teaching her granddaughter.

“I’ve always had the ability to read people and make them feel comfortable,” Noelene said.

“It was about gaining Amy’s confidence and setting little goals.”

Together they fine tuned Amy’s driving skills after 18 months of having been taught by her dad, Greg.

“I needed help with reverse parking, and with my confidence,” Amy said.

“Noelene would bring the learner driver vehicle to my house in Ulverstone and we would drive for two or three hours, in either the Devonport Chaplaincy vehicle or my Nissan Micra.

“I almost cried when I got my licence. It is the biggest achievement of my life.”

Amy drives two days a week to Burnie where she is completing a Certificate I in work education, having previously taken the bus or as part of a driving lesson with dad.

She’s also ready to share the driving between Melbourne and the Central Coast of NSW when the family heads on holidays.

Noelene is one of four bus drivers at Kinetic who took up the challenge to become driver mentors.

Noelene said Amy was her second student, and she was looking forward to taking on a new pupil now that Amy has her licence.

By Paul O’Rourke

To become a driver mentor, contact Adam at

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