We are already into week five of the Haynes Mechanix car course for the young people of Islington, and this week CAT catches up with London Youth’s Sport Development Officer, Jas Hothi to get his take on the course and how it is all going.
Hothi said: “I’ve been working in sports development for the past eight years and seen first-hand how sport can be used as a hook to engage young people, who may not necessarily be doing so well at school. The very same youth work principles are applied in this new Haynes Mechanix project, which gives young people the chance to learn a new skill and try something different in an environment where they are fully supported, by a staff team and their peers.
“My father owns a car electronics business so I have spent a lot of time in garages myself helping him out, holding the odd tool or soldering an electrical connection. The knowledge I gained through working with my father has helped me to maintain my own car and help friends with their cars too. So I’m really glad to be involved with this new pilot project that supports young people to learn the same.
“I’ve been really impressed with how keen the young people have been to learn and commit to this project. Over the past few weeks, they have arrived on time to all sessions and been fully engaged. And it’s not just all about the practical work. During the last session I observed young people recapping on their learning to date and discussing health and safety in the garage, how best to move around the car when jacked up, the negative effects of low engine oil within the engine, and so on – all things they knew nothing about previously.
“When you’re 14 or 15 it’s not easy to know what you may want to do as a job. But through projects like Haynes Mechanix young people can test things out, get a qualification, and potentially develop a career out of it. If not, they’ll at least know how to maintain their own car one day, which is a skill I’m sure all of us appreciate.”