Cars destined for the scrap yard have been donated to teens at a Wirral school as part of a new ‘game changing’ car mechanic programme designed to support young people in danger of permanent exclusion into meaningful and sustainable employment.
Recycling and waste management business Recycling Lives has teamed up with Merseyside Police and the AA to donate a host of seized cars to the new programme at Co-op Academy Bebington.
The initiative aims to support youngsters aged 11-18 who may be in danger of permanent exclusion or exploitation by organised crime groups to learn all aspects of car repairs.
The new unit will not only give young students hands on experience to enable them to be ready for work, but also the opportunity to gain vocational qualifications to help access and sustain employment when they leave school.
James Hadley, Managing Director Automotive, Recycling Lives, said:
"Our maintenance team stripped off the front end of each individual car and meticulously put them back together again with copper slip to ensure each part could be taken off easily again by the pupils to maximise their learning capability. We capped off brake lines to allow the front end of the cars to be fully operational, which means the kids can test their work once carried out to help with their understanding and engagement. Shadow tool boards with a complete set of tools were also gifted to make it easy to identify missing items from a distance and to help with their learning.
Positive social impact is the foundation of our business model, and this initiative is intricately linked with our strategy in raising skill levels across schools, colleges and disadvantaged groups. The new unit will give youngsters the chance to learn meaningful skills and serve as a helping hand into further education or employment, which in turn provides positive social economic impact."
With floorspace limited within the unit there was capacity to hold only two full cars for a class of eight students. With the cars cut down to just the front end, Recycling Lives has created enough space to accommodate the two full cars, two cutdowns and two engines - subsequently increasing student capacity and moreover, the amount of practical learning.
Paul Hart, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Co-op Academy Bebington, said:
"The AA has been instrumental in bringing this project forward and Recycling Lives involvement in recent months has moved it to the next level. I had a vision of how I wanted the programme to be, and Recycling Lives has brought that to fruition, where we can now see how it is all going to work, and how pupils will benefit from the experience they will gain.
My dream is to open apprenticeship doors for the future, and to create meaningful opportunities for them all - and through this partnership and our shared values and vision, I am confident we will."
Dave Carson, Contractor Scheme Manager, The AA, added:
“Our partnership with Co-op Academy Bebington is something that we are hugely passionate about. Not only is it keeping local kids at risk of going down the wrong path engaged in school and giving them a purpose, but it’s also addressing a massive skills shortage across the industry by getting young people into the motor industry.
Recycling Lives’ commitment has been second to none, and it’s great to work with a partner that shares our vision of social value, committed to achieving something beyond the business. The programme will be a game changer for many of these young people, and we’re thrilled to see it come to life.”