BICESTER Heritage has welcomed newly registered charity StarterMotor to the site, which has handed over vehicles from its own fleet for students to work on and drive.
StarterMotor is dedicated to enhancing the education experience of students in the maintenance and use of historic vehicles by giving them valuable first-hand experience.
Bicester Heritage is home to Banbury and Bicester College’s revolutionary Historic Vehicle Restoration Apprenticeship Scheme, which welcomes students to the site for a detailed course on all things historic motoring with a direct line to employment.
StarterMotor has teamed up with the college and Activate Learning to provide its fleet vehicles for students to experience the full circle of ownership and use in competitions, events and shows.
By doing so, the charity is ensuring that the new generation of automotive fanatics has the necessary equipment to keep the classic car legacy alive.
Both the apprenticeship scheme and StarterMotor were launched to respond to a skills gap in the industry, as the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs identified that half of the 28,000 employees that worked in the vehicle renovation industry in 2011 were aged 45 or older. There are now 34,900 working in the industry, with an average age of 42.
Businesses are expected to need up to 150 apprentices a year for the next five years to protect the future of an industry that is worth an estimated £5.5bn a year – and StarterMotor is providing an essential stepping stone for its future.
Chairman Adrian Shooter said: ‘I was lucky enough to be able to persuade my father to buy me an old Morris 8 engine to tinker with when I was 11. That got me started on a lifetime of restoring and driving old cars, which is why I am so enthusiastic about giving young people the chance to experience the excitement for themselves.’
David Cox, StarterMotor’s charity manager, added: ‘StarterMotor gives students vital access into the historical car market, helping develop valuable skills and engaging with the next generation of enthusiasts.’
Dan Geoghegan, managing director of Bicester Heritage and a Starter Motor trustee, said: ‘The learning curve can be transformed with genuine experience. StarterMotor hands over the keys and provides the opportunity both for fun and enhanced skills.’
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