Plugging the skills gap

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Charity aims to attract young people to the classic car world

Forget the housing ladder, young engineers now need help to get them on the classic car ladder.

The value of many historic vehicles has risen so fast and so high that many younger enthusiasts simply can’t afford to buy one to work on. The situation has become so worrying that a new charity has been launched to help source and pay for donor vehicles that it will lend to young restorers.

StarterMotor is dedicated to “enhancing the education experience of students in the maintenance and use of historic vehicles,” by giving them first-hand experience of cars from its own fleet to work on and drive.

The charity says it wants owners of classic cars which need some work to get in touch with a view to offering them to students to hone their skills on.

The aim is to address a skills gap and attract younger people to the classic car world. Research by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs identified that half of the 28,000 employees who worked in the vehicle renovation industry in 2011 were aged 45 or older. There are now 34,900, with an average age of 42. Businesses are expected to need 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

Adrian Shooter, chairman of StarterMotor, 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 old cars, which is why I am so enthusiastic about giving young people the same chance.”

StarterMotor is based at Bicester Heritage, where it will team up with the Banbury and Bicester College’s Historic Vehicle Restoration Apprenticeship Scheme for students.