Not all students work well in mainstream education. Some find that the heavy focus on paperwork and hypotheticals just doesn’t keep their attention. But a project co-ordinated by former teacher Gareth Thomas seeks to change that. The Bikespace, located in the Riverside Business Park in Devonport, is a project aimed at students aged 14-16 who struggle to fit in with mainstream education.
The project offers students a chance to get out of the classroom one day a week to instead focus on working as bike mechanics, fixing up bikes which are then sold to the public. They are trained not only in the mechanics side of it, but also in how to function in a workplace, learning everything from answering phones to how to make coffee. This training not only helps focus the students but also gives them useful skills that they can transfer over in to their future jobs.
On top of that the Bikespace also offers activities, such as a mountain bike trip every half term with the pupils and even going in to schools to work with students there if need be.
Kieran Pemberton, a pupil at the Bikespace from Sir John Hunt School said this about working at the Bikespace: "I like going to Bikespace because I have can do the same work as everybody else and I have learnt mechanics"
We also talked to Andy Lethbridge who tutors at the Bikespace about working with young people ‘Working with the young people we do is really fulfilling because we see how happy they are when they turn a bike from a rusty wreck into a working machine!”
We commend this great project and hope it continues with the best of luck.