Bright sparks plugging the skills gap

THERE can’t be many school classes in the land where the pupils have to be asked to leave to go home.

But at William Parker School the motor vehicle engineering course is so popular the students have to be locked out a lunch time so the tutors can get a break.

Feature on motor vehicle engineering course at william Parker. 8/7/13

Feature on motor vehicle engineering course at william Parker. 8/7/13

And for the 10 boys who are about to complete their MVE City & Guilds Level One certificate it has certainly been a labour of love.

The students have been under the expert tutelage of Adam Tilbury.

The 39-year-old former AA Patrolman’s class is that popular that he has to ask the pupils to leave for their lunch break and they then queue up to get back in.

The course teaches pupils the basics of car mechanics and gives them plenty of hands-on experience.

Last month Sussex Police donated two Fiat Puntos which had been impounded.

The cars were seized for having no insurance or their drivers had no licence and were never claimed back,

They will be stripped out and turned into banger racers for the Arlington Race Track near Eastbourne.

Two traffic police officers from the Polegate Unit will race each other in the cars in September what is being billed as a ‘grudge match.’

The pupils are modifying the cars for the race between PC Richard Trundle and PC Phillip Edwards.

They are taking out the fuel tank and battery and attaching it to the A-frame chassis.

The petrol pump and radiator are also move to make the vehicles safer and more competitive.

By the end of the course the pupils all know how to strip down and engine and put it back together.

Aaron Noakes and Luca Pola, both 16, have recently been given Saturday jobs by Europarts distribution company based on the Ponswood Industrial Estate.

Mr Tilbury approached the firm to see if they would consider giving the teenagers a chance and they duly obliged.

The school plans to double the course numbers for this September and interest is sky high.

Mr Tilbury said: “The boys love the course that much that they really don’t want to leave for lunch. In fact we have to ask them to leave to go home too.

“Then they queue up to get back in afterwards.

“They are just so enthusiastic about the whole thing.

“The course teaches them so many useful skills about cars and how they work.

“We are very grateful to Sussex Police for donating the cars. They really give the lads a lot of impetus to see them being raced around a track like

Arlington.

“One thing they do learn is not to throw everything away. We live in such a throw away society where people just buy new instead of trying to fix or repair something.

“They are also part of the X-Box generation and I do think this generation especially is missing out on core skills like mechanics and physical skills.

“Many just sit behind a game station of lap top and while away their time on games.

“We must be doing something right because I approached Europarts to see if I could find some work for Aaron and Luca and they were only too willing to help out. These boys are plugging a generation skills gap and it’s great to see them full of confidence and knowledge and ready to go into the industry as highly capable trainees or apprentices.

PC Trundle from the road policing unit in Polegate said: “I am really glad these students can learn from these cars which will benefit them in

their studies.”