PLACES are now open for 15 and 16-year-olds to learn to drive during October half term.

Working with Pathfinder Limited, Gloucestershire Police Authority is encouraging teenagers to get behind the wheel and understand the risks, before they are old enough to drive legally.

Based at Cheltenham Racecourse, the course develops positive attitudes to risk awareness and road safety while teaching fundamental technical driving skills.

The young drivers are supported by expert instructors over five intensive days of practical driving.

This project follows the success of two similar events run in October 2011 and Easter this year.

All parents and young people surveyed at the time agreed that they found the week very enjoyable and would recommend it to friends and family.

Police Authority member, Cllr Lesley Williams, said: "More than 25 per cent of injured drivers in Gloucestershire are 17 to 24-year-olds, so the authority takes educating teenagers very seriously.

"This course gives them a fantastic opportunity to be prepared before they start driving on the roads and focus on the importance of safety."

Paul Silverwood, one of the directors of Pathfinder Limited, said: "The project aims to achieve a sustainable reduction in serious injury, accident and conviction rates amongst drivers in the very high risk 17 to 24 age group.

"Our experience from elsewhere is that the young people have a great time and leave the project at the end of the week with a much more responsible attitude and approach to driving."

Leaflets have been sent to all secondary schools about the course, which costs £170 and is open to anyone aged 15 and 16.

Bursaries are available.

To find out more and book a place, visit or contact John Beckford or Paul Silverwood on 07860 510060.

Places will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and a parent or guardian must be present with each attendee.