Young mechanics learn their trade at Rockingham
By LJ Hutchins
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
A vocational course for mechanics that includes track time at Rockingham Motor Speedway has seen its 65 inaugural students complete their first full term.
The youngsters, from Corby, Kettering, East Northamptonshire, Rutland and Lincolnshire, are taking a two-year course delivered by Lunar Racing, an education-focused race team working with 14-16-year-old schoolchildren to build and maintain competitive racing cars.
The course offers them qualifications and experience via a hands-on career route and the students were recommended by their schools or local education authority after showing an interest in pursuing careers as motor vehicle engineers.
They spend one day a week at the Northamptonshire circuit during term-time and their study is split into theory and practical sessions covering all aspects of vehicle maintenance.
The students leave Lunar Racing as fully-qualified mechanics with the internationally-recognised IMI Level 2 motor vehicle qualification, equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A* to C – a national standard.
Paul Kneeshaw, Lunar Racing Centre Co-ordinator, said: “We are absolutely delighted with how the first-term has gone. The students come from a broad background and have a mixed academic ability but they all have one thing in common.
“All the students are enthusiastic about cars and this training programme not only gives them an internationally recognised qualification in vehicle maintenance, but also the confidence and personal skills to help them gain employment.
“We use the building and maintenance of real racing cars to teach them every aspects of the motor vehicle from the basic electrics to stripping down the engine, changing a gear box through to servicing the car.
He said the students were vital members of the race team with the responsibility of keeping drivers on track at the highest level of British motorsport.
“However, the work ethics this hands-on experience ensures students graduate with honours. The course has proved very popular with both males and females and the students have responded positively to the training programme, all members of staff and the unique learning environment.”
He said the course had so far attracted one female student, plus interest from many other young women keen to learn motor mechanic skills.
“We would urge them to contact us to find out just what we can offer. There is a great camaraderie within the team as everyone pulls together. This provides the students with a great sense of achievement and they are all rightly very proud of what they do.”
To gain a place on the training programme, students must go through a selection process which includes an interview to ensure they have the right aptitudes. Anyone interested in finding out more should visit the Lunar Racing website.