When providing travel training, the training pathway depends on your learner’s specific needs. This means that the steps won’t be the same for every learner. Later, you will see a variety of scenarios that demonstrate how the travel training pathway is guided by the learner’s needs. For now, take a moment to get a summary of the pathway that applies to the general travel training process.
If you are a travel trainer with an organisation, you will receive customer referrals. Customers may contact you directly. Others may be referred through an aged care or other organisation, or your own organisation may refer the customer.
If you are providing travel training for a person in your care, it may be because they asked for your help or because you personally identified their need to be more independent.
Either way, at this stage you need to determine their eligibility for training. Some people may not be eligible for training, as they may not have the capability to use public transport independently. You will make this decision through an initial discussion with the customer and/or their carer.
Where someone has an intellectual disability you may not know if they are capable of independent public transport use until they have had a number of training sessions.
Your first meeting with your learner is a vital opportunity for you to determine their needs. This will determine the way you deliver the rest of the training. Where a learner has an intellectual disability, you will need to meet with a family member of carer to discuss their needs.
What trips does your learner want, or need, to make? What barriers are in the way? What does independent travel look like for them? What experience and information do they already have? What level of capability do they have? What are their learning capabilities? What do they want to learn?
Plan the learning opportunity
Now you can plan the training to meet the needs of your learner. It may simply be an information session. For many learners, you will also provide an opportunity to practise using public transport. Whatever the learning, it will be tailored to suit the needs and learning capabilities of your learner.
For example, depending on their learning capabilities, you may need to actively take your learner through timetables and other information, or you may only facilitate them navigating this information themselves.
Or depending on their circumstances and transport needs, you may investigate a single route, or you may need to cover a wider segment of the transport network.
Investigate the trip
If the training involves particular trips, you will need to investigate the trips. You should have all the information before you actually provide the training.
For this, you will need to take into account where your learner would like to go, as well as the local transport options. You will also need to take into account the types of transport that your learner is comfortable with, or would like to use, or is accessible for any barriers they experience. Either by using maps or physically visiting the area, you will need to investigate any local issues, such as busy roads. You could also consult local transport operators to confirm the information you have is accurate.
Take the learner through the trip and/or information
You have already planned for this step – now you just have to provide the training. This step involves providing information to meet your learner’s needs.
You may only need to point them towards resources. Or may need to plan the trip for them. You may need to develop tools to use to overcome barriers or cope with unexpected events, for example, some learners may require "reminder cards".
If you’re taking your learner through a trip, you must focus on the whole trip, including the walking routes at either end of their trip or at interchanges.
Practise the trip
Next you action the plan and give your learner the opportunity to practise travelling. As with providing information, this will depend on your learner’s level of need.
For most learners you will probably need to accompany them on their first practice. Initially you may even need to take the lead, such as letting them know their stop is next. With each trip you can progressively drop back with the level of support you provide.
Review the trip
During and after the practice session, you should review the training with your learner. The level of review will depend on whether the learner has an intellectual disability, and it may take place with a family member as well.
How comfortable were they with the trip? Were they able to demonstrate independence, such as knowing where and when to board or alight the trip? Would they like further practice, and how could it be different?
Any planning or reshaping of future transport practice will come down to what the learner wants and needs out of the training. But it will also come down to your assessment of their progress.