Tyred of faulty gears? College launches new bike maintenance course for vocational learners

Coleg y Cymoedd’s School of Vocational Access has launched a brand-new bike maintenance scheme to help staff and learners with any bike-related issues they may be having.

The course, which has been introduced in response to growing numbers of staff and learners cycling to college, will see three vocational learners develop skills in bike maintenance and then offer out their services on a voluntary basis.

As part of the programme, staff and learners will be able to bring in their bikes to the Nantgarw campus where the learners, assisted by Vocational Access support staff member and keen bike enthusiast, Andrew Robinson, will be on hand to help fix any issues. They will be able to provide a range of general bike maintenance services from lubricating chains to checking for faulty gears, brakes, handlebars, and moving parts.

The three learners involved in the scheme, Kai John Ward, Chad Davies, and David Evans are all completing the course as part of the skills and volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh award. With Covid restrictions making many volunteering opportunities difficult, Valerie Smith, Duke of Edinburgh co-ordinator and leader, created the bike maintenance course with support from Head of School Al Lewis as a way for learners to fulfil this element of the award while developing valuable skills.

The launch of the course comes as Coleg y Cymoedd continues to encourage members of the college community to cycle to campus. It has unveiled a dedicated cycle to work scheme for staff, supported by Cycle Solutions. As part of the initiative, staff will receive financial support to purchase a new bike with Cycle Solutions subsidising a percentage of the cost

The move coincides with the Welsh Government’s Active Travel initiative which aims to encourage individuals to undertake more ‘Active Travel’ through walking and cycling to improve their health and mental wellbeing while providing benefits to the environment.

Valerie Smith, lecturer at Coleg y Cymoedd’s School of Vocational Access, said: “With more staff and learners choosing to cycle to college, our bike maintenance course could not have come at a better time.  Having on-site maintenance services will be invaluable for the cyclists within our college.

“The course will also provide benefits to the three learners directly involved, helping them develop a new vocational skill as well as important life skills. It will make them feel that they are contributing something positive to the wider college community. We hope that the course can continue to grow to become an ongoing programme that more learners can take part in”.

Kai John Ward, 16, one of the learners involved in the course said: “I’m really enjoying bike maintenance so far. It’s great that we’ve been given the opportunity to take part in hands on practical work that can teach us helpful new skills outside of the classroom environment”.

The bike maintenance workshops will be open Wednesdays between 11am to 1pm at the Nantgarw campus and will run for the next six months. Maintenance will be available for both adult and children’s bikes from staff or learners. As only three bikes can be looked at a time, if you are interested, please contact Valerie Smith at Val.Smith@cymoedd.ac.uk

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