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  • Innovative education project given flight thanks to social landlord

Innovative education project given flight thanks to social landlord

"Without Kathryn’s professionalism and hard work, this project would never have been completed within the short timeframe."

Wayne Derbyshire, TECK

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A former teacher has opened an innovative motor vehicle vocational training centre in Coalville for students with behavioural problems and learning difficulties, thanks to support from social landlord emh homes.

After 22 years in Further Education, Wayne Derbyshire decided to follow his passion and set up his own company, Teaching Educationally Creative Kids (TECK), to offer students a head start in the motor vehicle industry.

The course combines academic study with realistic practical experience, working towards various levels of BTEC qualifications.

“Students can start here from the age of 14,” said Wayne. “This can give them up to a two-year start on a career in the motor vehicle industry, whether they choose to follow an academic or practical route when finishing school.”

“The course is awesome,” said Brandon Lowe, 17, from Coalville. “It is a much better way of doing what I want to do than anything I’ve tried before.”

There were months of negotiations with the governors at Maplewell Hall School in Loughborough before the project was given the green light, leaving Wayne with just six weeks to get the classroom and workshop up and running.

A paperless classroom was created in a spare room at Agar Nook Community Centre in Coalville, complete with state-of-the-art computers where students are engaged through 3D videos and a virtual learning environment.

But creating the workshop proved to be more problematic. Two unused garages owned by emh homes a few yards from the community centre had been identified as being ideal, but crisis after crisis threatened to jeopardise the course, which had a set-in-stone start date of the first of September.

The garages had not been used in many years, and a huge amount of work was needed to bring them up to the required standards. Kathryn Williams from emh homes managed the project from the start, liaising with the various departments within the organisation to sort out the electric and water supplies, reboarding and repainting, and installing new shutters and an alarm system. Within the final two weeks of the conversion, however, the project was first hit by flooding and then an electrical blowout just days before the first lesson was due to start.

But thanks to the tireless efforts of Kathryn, the students were able to start their first practical lessons in safe and clean surroundings on time.

“Without Kathryn’s professionalism and hard work, this project would never have been completed within the short timeframe,” said Wayne. “I am lucky to have worked with such an inspirational person, and I really do not have the words to say how grateful I am for all her support in turning my dream into reality.”

Wayne is looking to work with several other schools and colleges in Leicestershire to ensure that as many students as possible take advantage of this unique learning opportunity.

Wayne Derbyshire and TECK can be contacted at: t.e.c.k@mail.com

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