News story

Army Reserves support youth engineering project in Redcar

Territorial Army soldiers are supporting a new council project in Redcar to give young people a range of engineering skills by getting them to build beach buggies.

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Soldiers from 102 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Volunteers) are supporting the Tactical Engineering Development project in Redcar [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]
Soldiers in Redcar supporting a youth skills initiative

Around 20 young people will take part in the first of 3 projects in the area which teach numeracy and literacy, IT and health and safety as part of the basic engineering skills they will learn from building four kit-car-type buggies.

Six Territorial Army (TA) soldiers from Newton Aycliffe-based 102 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) (Volunteers) are offering practical engineering skills and advice during the build.

The first course, which starts on 29 January, stretches over 9 weeks for one-day-a-week at the 102 Battalion REME TA Centre, Aycliffe Armoury, Northfield Way.

Captain Guy Benson, the battalion’s training major, explained:

We are known as ‘The Northern Craftsmen’ and as such we continue to look for opportunities where we can support our local authorities and communities in the North East.

The Tactical Engineering Development project allows the battalion to add real value and make a difference in the local community as it aims to raise the educational performance, achievements and aspirations of Redcar youths.

There are no formal qualifications from the course, but all students who complete it will be given a Certificate of Achievement which will add substance to their CV. The course also includes a visit to local engineering firms and tuition from an education instructor.

It gives the students the supporting opportunities to learn skills that they can take back into further education or the local labour market.

Building beach buggies in Redcar
It is hoped building beach buggies in Redcar will give young people a range of engineering skills [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

Part of the funding for the project comes from a Ministry of Defence grant which builds on the ‘Community Covenant’ signed in September 2012 with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to build stronger relations and mutual support between the local community and the Armed Forces.

The project is also supported by the Prince of Wales’ charities, Business in the Community, and the Redcar and Cleveland Connexions Team.

Councillor Joan Guy, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, said:

This is a great scheme for young unemployed people in the borough.

Unfortunately we have seen a rise in unemployment recently. By being able to work together with some of our key partners we are able to bring this fresh approach to young people and give them new skills and expertise for the future.

Engineering skills are still much in demand in local industry and yet many young people do not consider a career in engineering as a viable option. We wanted a project that would excite young people and inspire them to gain the basic engineering skills that local companies still need.

The project comes to Redcar following the success of a similar street kart project in Burnley, Lancashire, with plans for future courses in April and October.

Published 24 January 2013