Younger model: Manchester apprenticeship scheme jump starts classic car restoration

The dying art of restoring classic cars is getting a brand new, souped-up engine and much needed paint job thanks to a specialist Manchester mechanics and an apprenticeships charity.

ClassicCarCo, Worsley, and Rathbone UK have got their tools and heavy duty jump start cables at the ready to get the industry’s motor back up and running.

By car-laborating their expertise, the local company and national charity hope to get a whole new generation of young mechanics revved up, fine-tuned and trained ready to restore old motors.

Managing director of ClassCarCo Mike Marczynski told MM: “We require quite a specific set of skills from our staff at the workshop that are very different needed to work on modern cars.

“It is therefore important we look to the future and train up younger people to carry on those techniques so we don’t have a skill shortage.”

According to research by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, there is a need for around 1,000 new apprentices in classic vehicle restoration across the UK.

The report conducted by Bristol University, showed that there are 3,800 businesses employing 22,000 people, generating a profit of £4.3billion for the care and restoration industry.

Mike has been looking to expand his apprenticeship workforce after witnessing the success of his first ever apprentice to join the business Little Lever’s Bobby Ireland.

Bobby, now 18, who started out with Mike as a trainee, was the first to take advantage of the Walkden-based scheme in order race up the ranks to apprentice-level.

He said: “I’ve always had an interest in cars, especially older models, so when the opportunity came to works hands-on with classic cars I was eager to apply.”

And at the moment Bobby is a bit of a rare breed.

On top of the classic car restoration industry only employing 22,000 skilled workers, 43% of them are 45-years-old or more.

This means a significant proportion of the workforce will be retiring or coming up to retirement in the next 20 years.

Not only does the industry have an aging workforce but demand for maintenance and repair of vehicles is increasing exponentially year-on-year.

The number of workers in the industry has risen by 1000 since 2006 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Nearly 41% of employers questioned during the survey said that they were looking to take on staff within the next 5 years.

The majority of employers all agreed that this was due to exceptional growth in the industry and experts predict there will be the need for 7000 new recruits in the near future.

Image courtesy of Nao.K, with thanks.

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