Living Local - Kathy Collier, METEC & Whitehorse Business Group
As. Someone, who lost their father to a car accident when, I was just a boy I. Understand. Better than most the, importance, of good road safety programs. While. Our cars and our roads are getting safer. The. Biggest, issue we still face is, driver, error. Unfortunately. The most dangerous, time for, any driver, is in. The first year that, they're out there by themselves. This. Is why, when. I found out about the work being done at met heck driver training with school kids I had. To find out some more. This. Week's interviews, with the general manager of this organization. And it. Was great to find out about some of the programs, that they're offering to all different types of drivers. She's. Also the chair of the white horse business, group a community. Of local, businesses, that, I've just recently joined, I. Had. A great time interviewing, Kathy, and I, hope you get a lot out of this interview, whether. It's through finding, out about how, a local, business, group can help your business or. If it's through finding out about an organization. That, can help keep yourself and, your children that much safer on our roads Oh. Kathy. Thanks for joining me today, pleasure thank you for meeting, with me it's great, it's. Um it's. Pretty clear, that you're. Someone that likes to keep yourself busy, your. General. Manager of profit. Organization. Magic, where we are today yep, you're. The chair for white horse Business Council, you, obviously keeping yourself involved in lots of different, things. And this is all after you've. Finished. Running, your own business yeah, with. Your husband that's, right so um. Go. Back to the white horse business group I guess so I became. Involved in that when we had our own business in in Whitehorse, and I. Joined. The group as a, way. Of I guess, getting. Support from other business owners. Being. With, like-minded. People, if, you like and. And. Also. I. Guess. I was feeling a little unchallenged. In some ways in, our own business and, I. Love. Being. Able to help, other businesses, connect, and and, you. Know and create opportunities, and everything so over. The years I've, been. On the board as, a general, board member Deputy, Chair and currently chair of the group. It's. A great group we we, work with businesses, of all sizes and that was one of the things that I really. Thought. Was invaluable to. I. Guess. Get perspective from you. Know micro. Businesses, right, through to large organizations so. Our, board has a really good mix of people, so. That we have a balanced perspective about, what we, can offer, and what's.
Of Benefit to, businesses. In the area so. Yeah. It's been great I really enjoy, it and. Now. I'm obviously, I'm, not my, business, I work for well, the organization I work for is magic. Driver training or metropolitan. Traffic. Education center, and. We provide, driver. Education and, training at, our facility, in Bayswater North, predominantly. For schools but we, we, provide training. Or so to corporate, government. We. Do defensive. Seniors. Caravan, towing, training so. Essentially. Anything you can do with a normal license. We. Teach you how to do it better safer, and in. In the case of towing. Everybody, wants to go backwards, so we, teach you know but a degree backwards, really hell, if, you saw me, back. My Caravan into there into, the driveway after not having one behind me for ten, years I can, understand why it's something people come here for absolutely. And I, don't, include, myself in that I probably, need to undergo some driver training myself. And. I, certainly, don't tow anything but, in. The future who knows I, may well get. Into the caravan, world, and do, some of that myself that, we're. A member based organisation so, we've been around since the, early 70s. Started. As a volunteer, organization, and over the years has grown. To. A point where we now, have. Five. Admin, team, five and yet intend, including myself and, we. Have over 30. Instructors. That are also members, of the organisation's so we. Like to think that our instructors, have a a very. Strong. Belief. In in improving. Word safety, they're not just about teaching people to drive but they're about teaching people to drive safely. So. Yes. The way we. Provide that. Training both off facility, in the form of driving, lessons but predominantly, it's. Schools, that come here that. Come. In a group and we. Road, law information. Safe. Driving information. We, talk about behaviour, we talk about mood, we talk about. Fatigue. And all of those things and how they can affect your driving and. How to stay safer, on, the roads, so for us that's. Really, our our core mission, to. Keep young people in particular so, because they are the most at risk so. If. You look statistically that. The, safest, time as the, driver is when you're a learner and the. Most. At-risk, time, is that first year when you get your license, and you're on your own so, whilst. 120. Hours is, great. In, giving people a lot of time under. Supervision, it. Really depends, on what. That hundred and twenty hours is so sometimes, we get. Kids. That have done 120, hours but they've done the same hundred and twenty hours maybe. The same 30. Minutes. 240. Times it might be to. School them back every day and, so they're doing the same route every day this. Thing drive every day they're not, necessarily. Being. Taught how. To drive well they're just getting practice, that had been behind, the wheel so we like to talk. More about.
Looking. Beyond that and, how. To look out for houses. How. To make. Sure that you. Know your distractions. Phones, are a big challenge, and. Will continue to be a big challenge so. Whilst. Cars much. Safer than they ever have been, there's. A lot of other things in, the mix that, create. Problems. For new drivers and. You. Know let's face it you. Might be a great driver but you might not be a great teacher so, as a parent. You. Know our advice to parents would be to start with the professional, get some really good, it's instilled. So. That you're. Not having to undo that at the end of 120. Hours it's much better to install, them from the start, absolutely. And you mentioned before about going. The, same trip, for. A 120. Hours we went for a little bit of a drive through here and yeah just, the the core setup that you've got is, it. Really, offers a whole range of different driving, conditions but in a in a safe environment yeah. A few. Potholes included. Absolutely. We. Like to think of it as a realistic, representation, of, the public roads system. It's. Like a little town without the houses so. It's. A great experience when you drivers you, don't need a learner permit to drive here because we're a closed Road and, as. Well as the school, programs, that we offer we. Also host. The road. Smart program. As an off-road training facility, and we're, also the. Crows agency, for learner permit testing so we, strongly, align our values and, our. Information. With government agencies, so. That we're giving, accurate. Evidence-based. Information, to. The kids that come through here, fantastic. Now, you mentioned, that you don't need an else to come no, yeah, where. Do you see the the best results, for when schools bring kids. In on what sort of age if you got people coming. Into first tryout yeah, understanding, how a car works so. Predominantly. 15. And 16 year olds is is who we have here, some, schools come at year 9 and. They're. Mostly. Eating and, they. Come some, without a learner permit and some with so from a school perspective it's. Easy for the teachers they don't have to worry that kids having, a learner permit or not, they. Can all drive here so yeah. So. In its own a perfect, world you could have kids. Come here before they get there else to at least get a little bit of comfort behind. A wheel in an environment, which is not as stressful as on the road, yeah.
But, Then once they've got their else have you got options. To help them through that 120. Hours in line with that parent yeah absolutely we, have other. Lunar courses, that are. Beyond, the. Initial we. Have a an, initial, two-day course which is quite intensive, which is for pre learners and new learners, and that's. Really to. Get. The best start for young people to drive we, pair that with, relevant. Information road.law, information. We, talk about as I said about you know mood and behavior and, how those things affect your driving so. That they're. Pairing. The experience, with the information, so it it's, so much deeper. Learning than. Doing. Them separately, if you like so the experience is all-encompassing beyond. That we have other courses to, take you through to the end of your learning period and then. We have a great course for newly, licensed, drivers, where they come in their own car and. They. Learn about, how. To keep themselves safe, as. A solo driver so, when. They've been with someone for two years and all of a sudden they're on their own there. Is, some talk, about kids, being overconfident, but, a lot of kids are terrified to drive on their own a lot, of kids are terrified to drive for the first time so, we'd. Like to think that our facility, removes, that anxiety from. Them it's. Very safe and it's. Very realistic as she said with pals and all. And. As. Far as the. I. Suppose area that you service so is it schools from all over the eastern suburbs it can town here all over Melbourne. We even have some country schools come and they come and join I open camp in Melbourne, and. They. Might do different things on every, day and one. Of their days will be to come here so it's. Fantastic experience. For the kids we we get nothing but positive, feedback and. It's. It's great for the teachers as well so, they see it as a very we have a lot of schools that have been coming here for a long time and. They. See it as a very important, part of of. Kids. Learning yeah. Well. It's. One. Of the most dangerous things I can look at doing but it's, it's. Almost a necessity, to, have a licence in this day and age so I think anything that can help them get through that you said the most dangerous point. In time yeah. You. Know a safer, environment has, to be a great thing absolutely. No. I think it's a I wish we had something like this when. I was going through through. I might've.
Saved A couple of accidents. Absolutely. So no we we see ourselves as, some, being. In a privileged, position to, help young people be, safe and. We. Have a board of management, here that. It's. Made up of a number, of. Different. People so we. Have the, police representation. On the board we have local, council representation. On the board and. You. Know we're all committed, to the same things so yeah. I think it's it's a great place, to work in and, hopefully, we're. Making a difference to to, a lot of young people yeah. Fantastic. Yeah. You. Spoke briefly just before so apart from, doing. This it's obviously not enough to to, keep you busy. You're. Also chair on the white horse business group so tell. Me a bit about that. How. Did that evolve to, be something that you were. So. Much time into as well so, that came about when. I was in my own business and, I. Was, looking for resources as a small business it's often. Challenging. To get access to, you. Know all the compliance, information, that you need and. Marketing. Advise all sorts of advice so I found it a great resource. To assist. Us. In growing our business and. I. Just. Really. I guess, I got hooked to, be honest, great. Bunch of people and, you know as I said from, you, know home-based micro business members. Right through to large organizations like. Vauxhall. Institute, Deakin, University. And. Everything. In between so, part. Of the group's. Role. Is, to facilitate. The, excellence, in business awards. For. The senior whoreson. That's. Essentially. How I got involved in the first place so we were encouraged, to into the awards which we did and. It, was a great experience for us as a business. Both, to, look at our processes, and look at what we were doing well what we could improve on, and also. To engage, the, staff in, in. The company. As an organization. So and. From there I I, guess, I enjoyed it so much I stayed so, yeah. And, we've. Got a great administrator, with Laura who is. Fantastic. And we're. Always just looking for ways to create opportunity. For businesses, to connect with each other and, I. Think we do that really well and. Create. You. Know networking, opportunities. It's, it's about relationship, building so. You. Know networking, networking is, an exchanging, of business card and then doing. Business with someone it's building, an ongoing relationship, and, and, I guess looking for opportunities, for businesses. About more how would this work for them and sometimes, the, the most, unlikely. Partnerships. Are. Actually, very successful ones, and, sometimes it's even. People. That would traditionally be seen as competitors. You. Know working. Together. And, and. And growing, both businesses, so you, know that's something that we've seen over the years as well and.
I. Think we we're, a highly regarded business group which is fantastic. Yeah. I, know I've got my first. Networking. Session and casual drinks coming up this year is Friday and you. Know as far as. Investing. In your business I want to join the group as. Quite. A little cost of it. And. The opportunity to get around other businesses, which are in the local community, oh yeah, I think is one of the big things and even having just started this little segment. That I'm doing now just. The. Few people that know each other through the group sees something and I'm. Getting the recommendations. Left and right of how you should go and have a chapter this person. For that person and that's where. You. Get that real community, sort of you, know toward is it's a lot of people doing the similar sort of things in the same area that's right yeah what. We like to look at I guess. Business holistically, and and, yeah. Nothing, gives, me more pleasure than seeing a business succeed, because of the connection, they've made. Within. The group or even beyond the group but you know it's just um it's nice to celebrate everybody's. Success, yeah. And obviously. As I said we've got the casual drinks coming out but one of the sort of events that that, people are but you mentioned the awards, the dress we've got the awards we have casual, drinks every, month and on. Top of that we've got in. This, monthly on this month we've got Chum taking, networking, to connecting, so. As. I said beyond that initial exchange, of business cards and meeting someone how do you, progressed. With that relationship and. Get. To know another business, owner or employees. So not, all of our people. That come business. Owners some are employees, of other businesses, and. Ranging. From micro, based home-based, right through to the large organisations, so it's. About teaching people how, to. Develop. Those opportunities, for them yes, I've got that we've got. Another. Event later on that. We're partnering, with rotary, and that's about working, with Millennials, and. It's. Not just about that but it's about how to get the best out of people and, recognizing. I guess the difference. In. In, different. Not. Just age groups but. Mindsets. If, you don't like yeah I'm, talked about we also. We. Have lots of workshops, and. LinkedIn. Information. Anything. Really that can help your business that, we see a gap that that's. Not being provided elsewhere.
We. Work, very closely, we think, development, unit of the city of Whitehorse. And, we. Support, them in what they do and vice versa so, there's a lot of synergy. Between what we do and what they do and, we. We, don't want to provide the same things that they do we want to provide different. Support, mechanisms, for business so for. Small business that can be quite challenging to, keep up to date with all the compliance. You. Know legalities. Of everything, and and just you know new trends that are happening, I'm. Working finance so I know what you mean when it's difficult to keep up with all the compliance, changes. So. You spend. A good part of your time, here. Yes, running. This organization, you spend a good part of your time as a, chair of the business group, organizing. Any events, and networking, and. Things. Like what you're doing with rotary. When, does Cathy get to have some time to herself and what do you do with that. So. I. Guess. I'm a fairly, simple, homebody, person, so I. Enjoy. Being with my family with my husband and with my kids and with their partners, with. My friends I have the great friendship circles so going. Out for dumplings is something, that that. We do regularly, I enjoy. A glass of wine and. You. Know just keep keep, on, top of all the, domestic. Duties. Shopping, a bit of reading and, you. Know you did mention earlier there's no time for golf no. Time for golf but that's because I recognized I'm very bad and it's so that, might be something I'll work on in the future so. Well. There is just one next door. To. The Dorset Golf Course so just a beautiful, space. Lovely. Yeah, lovely, well. That's, been fantastic to get to know a little bit about what, you've been doing here, and as. You. Know for me it's a. With. The personal, involvement in. Motor vehicle accidents with, my dad it's you, know to know that there is something like this which is helping. People get, out onto the road safer, is a big thing and. Also. As a as the. Micro business as you are speaking about knowing, that there's places to go like white horse business group, to. Help build connections. And really get amongst. The community. So. Thank you for that place yeah yeah, just. To wrap things up. One, question that I love, to ask people because it's. Fascinating to hear the different types of responses, okay, can, you tell me what's one piece of financial advice, that you, received from your parents, that's really stuck until today I don't, spend more than you earn. That's. Probably, the key to it and I repeated, it to my kids and said. Whether you're, an. Individual, company. Country. Don't. Spend more than you earn and, you'll, be okay no. I think there's plenty of credit card providers, that won't like hearing, that.
Pretty. Sound financial advice thank, you it's been wonderful to have a chat today thank you so much for your time pleasure, thanks Mitch thank you so much.