A charity in Wigan which trains young mechanics has opened its doors to the public for the first time.
Fix-It UK works with local teenagers, many of whom have struggled at school, to provide them with the skills for a career in car maintenance.
For three days a week, the charity in Spring View operates a garage where Wigan motorists can have their cars serviced or repaired.
Fix-It director Ian Tomlinson said it was a “win-win for everybody.”
“We generate some extra income and members of the public get their vehicles fixed at a reasonable cost,” he said.
Thanks to funding from The Coalfield Regeneration Trust to help school leavers, Fix It can now offer services including repairs, MOT preparation, tyres and exhausts, fault finding and free advice.
Fix-It UK was set up in 2005 and works closely with 14-19 year olds to deliver vocational training in motor vehicle studies.
Ian said that, at its training facility on the Rosebridge Industrial Estate, students are “able to make mistakes and learn from their experiences” in a safe and secure environment.
Amy Smith, 18, from Hag Fold near Atherton wants to get a job as a mechanic. She said working at Fix-It was a real step up from school.
“At school, you like worked in a group.”
“Now I’m in an older group with older people. I did my entry level when I were at school. Now I’m doing my Level One. So it’s like an upgrade.”
Fifteen-year-old Tylee McManus from Hindley Green is still at school. He said if it wasn’t for Fix-It, he’d be struggling in lessons.
“It’d be a bit harder than it is now,” he said.
“I get on better now at school because they help you here with your concentration and general knowledge and that.”
According to the charity, its qualified trainers work with a maximum group size of seven students to develop a close working relationship and ‘instil a culture of respect and mutual support’.
The charity also sets out to prepare young people prepare for working life by improving personal skills such as timekeeping, attendance, behaviour and social skills.
Ian Tomlinson said that 100% of the profits from Fix-It’s garage work will be put back into the charity.