The RAC has opened an auto-training centre for young learners at a school
It follows the opening of a similar centre at Ashfield School, Nottingham, in January.
The RAC will invite local dealerships and independent garages with which it has relationships to sponsor students at Great Sankey High School.
This will mean work experience, probably involving students working at garages on Saturday mornings.
Damian O’Connor, RAC head of commercial and apprentice training, said: “Pupils can learn on the job and will often want to stick with those places where they have learnt. We’re getting students ahead of the game and that’s what we’re trying to sell to local business.
He added: “When pupils finish at school they will be far ahead of other apprentices and familiar with those businesses.”
The RAC was introduced to Great Sankey High School through Automotive Skills, part of the IMI.
The centre will be used for training RAC patrolmen, the RAC’s manufacturer partners and pupils from schools in the surrounding area.
“We could just sit back and leave manufacturers to deal with skills shortages,” O’Connor said. “But it’s almost a duty for us, as a trusted brand, to be pro-active. It’s about changing people’s mindsets at a much earlier age.”
Around £1 million has been invested in the centre, including £200,000 from the RAC. It will continue to support the project with equipment and supplies in the coming years.
Students from the age of 14 can study for a BTEC in vehicle technology and can attempt the level three national award for BTEC.
“We are trying to get the cream of the crop – people that are good at science
and maths,” said Ian Holmes, a member of staff at the school.
“You have to have an interview with a member of staff and an RAC senior employer, before getting on the course. We are trying to say ‘you are no longer at school, you are coming into a business environment’.”