New UK charity will lend classics to young apprentices

StarterMotor will run out of Bicester Heritage and lend classic cars to young people to teach them about maintenance and usage

A new charity based at Bicester Heritage is to lend classic cars to young apprentices to help them to learn about maintenance and repairs.

Newly registered UK charity StarterMotor offers classic cars from its own fleet so that students can learn the necessary skills first-hand in an effort to entice a new generation of people to work in the classic car sector.

The charity was launched in order to respond to a skills gap in the industry, as The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs identified that half of the 28,000 employees that worked in the vehicle renovation industry in 2011 are aged 45 or older. There are now 34,900 working in the industry, with an average age of 42.

Chairman of StarterMotor Adrian Shooter said: ‘I was lucky enough to be able to persuade my father to buy me an old Morris 8 engine to tinker with when I was 11. That got me started on a lifetime of restoring and driving old cars, which is why I am so enthusiastic about giving young people the chance to experience the excitement for themselves.’

The Bicester Heritage site is home to Banbury and Bicester College’s Historic Vehicle Restoration Apprenticeship Scheme, which welcomes students to the site for a detailed course on all things historic motoring with a direct line to employment.

StarterMotor has partnered with the college and Activate Learning to provide vehicles for these students to not only experience the full circle of ownership, but also to use in competitions, events and shows.

David Cox, StarterMotor’s charity manager, said: ‘StarterMotor gives students vital access into the historical car market, helping develop valuable skills and engaging with the next generation of enthusiasts.’

Businesses are expected to need up to 150 apprentices a year for the next five years in order to protect the future of an industry that is worth an estimated £5.5bn a year.

Bicester Heritage managing director and StarterMotor trustee Dan Geoghegan added: ‘The learning curve can be transformed with genuine experience, StarterMotor hands over the keys and provides the opportunity both for fun and enhanced skills.’

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