Mechanix project puts youngsters in the driving seat

Budding mechanics have celebrated completing a course that will help to put them in the driving seat when it comes to pursuing a career in the motor industry.

The Mechanix project saw seven youngsters, aged either 15 or 16, spend 10 weeks last year working to restore an old Mercedes SLK230 Kompressor to MOT standard.

During the twice-weekly sessions the youngsters were taught skills such as changing a wheel, replacing spark plugs and bleeding the braking system, as well as giving the car a cosmetic makeover.

After successfully completing the course, the students were given an award from the Institute of the Motor Industry.

They were also invited to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu (24/01/2020), where they were each presented with a certificate of achievement by Lord Montagu.

The Mechanix project was designed by the Haynes Group and run locally by Dibden Parish Church with support from Dibden Purlieu garage Shawfix Autos, and a team of dedicated volunteers.

For the third year in a row, ExxonMobil Fawley made a £2,000 contribution towards the project, in addition to supplying the budding mechanics with overalls and safety boots.

As well as taking part in plenty of hands-on learning at Shawfix Autos, the students also spent 50 per cent of their time working on personal development at St Andrew’s Church, Dibden Purlieu.

Serena Carthy, Children and Families worker at St Andrew’s, said: “This project helps young people to take initiative and responsibility for their learning and career development in a fun and inclusive environment.

St Andrew’s is very grateful to all the organisations and volunteers who made the Mechanix course possible once again.

We must also thank the young people themselves who took part in this year’s project, they made it so rewarding for everyone involved.”

Angharad Vaughan, Community Affairs Adviser at Fawley, said: “We know from the success of the first Mechanix course in 2017 that this style of hands-on learning is a great way to help young people take their first steps towards a possible career in the motor industry.

The practical and social skills they have learnt will prove invaluable and we wish them every success in the future.”