Motorbikes, maintenance and mechanics – a new way to inspire future scientists!

The maintenance and mechanics of motorbikes has helped to inspire Newcastle teenagers to explore learning and career opportunities in science.

A group of 24 young people aged 16-19 from the West End of the city took part in the innovative Right Trax project in Teesside which was coordinated by the Scotswood Strategy and funded by Newcastle Science City to introduce the subject of mechanics and stimulate an interest that can be developed further.

The teenagers – some of whom are not in education, employment or training – signed up to a 12 week programme to learn about motorbike maintenance, different types of fuel and the sustainable use of it, and health and safety.

Literacy, numeracy, ICT and personal development improvement skills were embedded into the activities and the participants worked towards gaining a recognised key skills qualification which is the equivalent to a GCSE A to C grade. 

Vince Kapur of Scotswood Strategy said: “The programme really captured the imagination of the young people who took part. They turned up to every single session really enthusiastic and many are keen to continue their studies to a more advanced level, with some having signed up to college courses. We’ve already had lots of other young people from the community coming to us to ask if they can be involved too so we know we’ve really tapped into an area of interest that can be developed.”

Newcastle Science City funded the project as part of its work to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) opportunities throughout Newcastle. Its Community Science Grants also offer access to STEM Learning, personal development and jobs in local communities, with particular attention given to disadvantaged areas.

Ravi Singh of Newcastle Science City’s Community Science team said: “The programme has had an incredibly positive impact on the lives of the young people who took part. It’s given them an opportunity to do something they would not have had a chance to do in the past and has opened their eyes to the further education and training opportunities that exist in the field of science.”

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment.