Irish Local Development Network

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Motor Technology Training in County Clare

Research carried out by Clare Local Development Company and Obair Newmarket on Fergus highlighted the need for a practical programme that would increase the motivation, self-worth and self-esteem of young adults, in particular young men, within the community who were affected by the downturn in the building trade which left many early school leavers with low educational attainment and few alternative career options. Depression, alcohol abuse, feelings of disengagement and increasing death by suicide in the South East Clare area were also factors affecting young people in the area.

The research identified a number of new market opportunities which training in motor technology would enable young people in the area to take advantage of including:

  • Increased demand for second hand car servicing  through low cost service providers rather than through the main dealerships.
  • Emerging demand for doing up second hand cars, spray painting and adding attachments, wheels and car seats.
  • The need for training in green car mechanics and electronics, motor bike mechanics and farm machinery maintenance.
  • Continuing opportunities in airplane mechanics and maintenance in Shannon.

Based on this research, Clare Local Development Company, FAS Training Services and Obair Newmarket on Fergus decided to offer a FETAC Level 5 Motor Technology Programme. Demand for the course outstripped the number of places with 45 applicants competing for just 17 places. The programme commenced with 16 males and 1 female in September 2011 and ran until May 2012.

The Course

The aim of Motor Technology Programme was to provide learners with flexible training opportunities, in order to raise their competency levels, by allowing them to re-engage with the education system in an environment that would both encourage and support them in their learning. The main goal of the programme was to challenge learners to acquire new knowledge, develop new skills and to encourage positive attitudes towards learning, personal development and employment.

The other major aim of the course was to facilitate learner progression toward participation in the labour market, or possible progression to higher education.  All learners were supported in identifying their individual learning needs. Learners were encouraged to develop to their maximum potential, at their own pace, in a supported learning environment of equality and inclusion.

Progression for Learners

The progression rate for the course was quite high, through both employment and further education. The motivation and enthusiasm from the learners to move on to something new after the course was evident. At the time of writing, the progression details were as follows:

  • 4 learners applied for college places
  • 2 learners were offered apprenticeships with local garages
  • 2 learners left the course with full time work
  • 2 learners left the course with part-time work
  • 1 learner is attempting to start a small business

What Worked Well?

An evaluation of the factors behind the project’s success identified:

  • Interviewing the candidates before offering them a place on the programme ensured the selection of the most suitable group for the course who were positive, productive and enthusiastic.
  • The mixture of theory and practical course content kept the group interested, motivated and challenged all the way through the course.
  • Flexibility in terms of scheduling.
  • Learners were made to feel welcome and comfortable by Obair staff.
  • The introduction of Engineering towards the end of the programme.

Some learners from the programme speak about their experiences

Kieran: “I’d like to thank CLDC and FAS for the opportunity they gave me. The last nine months were brilliant. I would like to give a huge thanks to Pat, Joe and Yvonne, they’re truly excellent at their jobs. We started as a group of 17 and ended up a great group of 20 and friends. I would also like to thank Sam in CLDC who played a big part in the success of this course”

Stephen: “It was a great nine months lads and a great experience. …..We were all well looked after from day one right through to our finishing day all of which with plenty of guidance and reassurance….Kale Moroney - If only we could do it all over again”

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