Irish Local Development Network

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Callan Car Restoration Project

Kilkenny Leader Partnership with the support of Droichead Family Resource Centre facilitated a very successful Car Restoration course in Callan.  The main aim of this course was to engage with young people aged 17+, providing an opportunity to gain first hand experience in the area of car restoration and general maintenance. 

This course provided ten young people with an opportunity to gain practical knowledge in the general restoration of a classic car.  The programme was delivered by Callan Auto Services who offered their garage facilities and staff to work with the group every Friday afternoon for 3 hours on a Ford Escort (MK2), 3 door, 1.6 Petrol (1972).

The Community Development Worker for Droichead Family Resource Centre linked in with the group and took weekly photos to track the progression of the course. Individual support was offered in career opportunities and employment progression.

This programme was funded by Kilkenny Leader Partnership under the Local & Community Development Programme (LCDP) for tutor costs €2,000 and protective clothing €500.  The car and all materials were supplied by Callan Auto Services.  It has been recognised that the funding given to support the project was minimal and that without the generosity of Callan Auto Services this project would not have been the success that it has been. 

The project success was really down to the input of Callan Auto Services.  The manager and owner of the company, Mr David O Brien was extremely enthusiastic about helping young people to learn about the mechanics of a car and to educate them in safe driving practices.  Mr O’Brien is a keen rally car enthusiast and his commitment to working with a group of young people and offering them an experience that has not been delivered anywhere else has given us a model of good practice to work on in the future.

Linkages between employers, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Droichead Family Resource Centre and the participants have resulted in a quality programme that could be replicated in other parts of the county.

Successful Outcomes

  • 10 enthusiastic participants started the course (with a waiting list for the next course).
  • The participant ages ranged from seventeen to early twenties with the exception of one man who was in his thirties, was unemployed and who travelled from Kilkenny City to participate on the course.
  • 1 participant dropped out of the course after two weeks.  The remainder all stayed to complete the 10 week programme.
  • Participants stated that the tutors’ enthusiasm and teaching methods, with the practical hands on work experience made the course more interesting.  It wasn’t about sitting at a desk being talked to.  The tutor allowed one participant that owns his own car to bring it in for a basic service giving him a skill that he will carry forward in the future.
  • 2 x participants are now employed part-time in motor mechanics
  • The remaining students continued in full-time education and completed their leaving cert this year.  
  • 2 x students continue to attend the garage to help out on a weekly basis.

Mr O Brien has other ideas for the future in terms of training for young people; to include early school driver lessons (in a field) and training individuals in safe driving practices by maintenance of cars.

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