Clas­sic car restora­tion course moves to new home in ma­jor step to­wards fill­ing skills short­age gap

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

A course ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of clas­sic re­stor­ers has been so suc­cess­ful it’s out­grown its orig­i­nal home.

Bicester and Ban­bury Col­lege’s clas­sic ve­hi­cle restora­tion course has been re­lo­cated to Bicester Her­itage, a nearby busi­ness park on Ox­ford­shire, spe­cial­is­ing in clas­sic car and vin­tage air­craft.

The course was orig­i­nally launched in 2014 with the Fed­er­a­tion of British His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs’ back­ing to counter a short­age of new re­stor­ers re­plac­ing ex­ist­ing spe­cial­ists when they re­tire.

The new course will en­able dozens of young­sters to learn restora­tion skills, but by the Fed­er­a­tion’s es­ti­mates there still needs to be at least 150 ap­pren­tices sign­ing up ev­ery year for the next five years to re­place re­tir­ing re­stor­ers.

The FBHVC says the move will help plug the fu­ture short­age of skills in the clas­sic restora­tion in­dus­try, which it iden­ti­fied. It also iden­ti­fied that the tra­di­tional light ve­hi­cle tech­ni­cian cour­ses, used by young­sters to get into work­shops have moved with the times and now teaches its stu­dents to di­ag­nose faults us­ing soft­ware, mean­ing clas­sic-spe­cific skills like re­build­ing car­bu­ret­tors or wiring dy­namos are dis­ap­pear­ing from these cour­ses.

Chair­man David Whale says: ‘It means that the stu­dents will de­velop their knowl­edge and skills sur­rounded by the very crafts­men they as­pire to succeed. The fact that ideal fa­cil­i­ties, in ab­so­lutely the most ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment, ex­isted so close at Bicester Her­itage was too good an op­por­tu­nity to miss.’

Course provider Activate En­ter­prise says that re­lo­cat­ing the course to the clas­sic-friendly busi­ness park will give the ap­pren­tices a more di­rect route into work­ing with clas­sic cars full time.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Pablo Lloyd says: ‘The his­toric ve­hi­cle ap­pren­tice­ship was launched to de­velop the tal­ent re­quired to safe­guard the fu­ture of this im­por­tant and high value sec­tor.

‘This move will of­fer them an un­ri­valled learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, sur­rounded by in­dus­try en­thu­si­asts and ex­per­tise, and the chance to build vi­tal links with em­ploy­ers.’ Kieron Fen­nelly

The FBHVC be­gan back­ing ap­pren­tice­ships two years ago to help com­bat skills short­ages.

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