22 October 2015

Garage bosses took a look at the latest training opportunities when Buxton & Leek College threw open the doors to its £1 million motor vehicle training centre at Harpur Hill in Buxton this month.

Training in the latest technologies, including maintenance of hybrid cars, was showcased at the centre on the Harpur Hill Business Park. And among the visitors were local garage owners who send their apprentices to the centre on day release.

For Mick Keeling, 62, from Glutton Bridge, the facilities on view, sponsored by Toyota cars and Snap-on Tools, were a far cry from the resources he had to work with when he started out, at the old Buxton College, in 1968. Mick, who has had a passion for motor vehicles all his life, went from student to lecturer at the college and is now a director at two local garages – Glutton Bridge Garage and George Garage in Buxton.

Mick, whose latest apprentice, Tyrone Lacey, 18, is now a student at the Harpur Hill centre, said:

“The facilities here are just phenomenal. I am very impressed with how well geared out the workshop is. Tyrone comes here every Tuesday on day release and is serving his apprenticeship at our garage in Buxton.”

Mick’s business partner, Stuart Watson, 47, added:

“The technology here is all the very latest available and I think we old-timers might need to come back and do a course to bring us up-to-date, especially now the new hybrid cars are coming into our garage for servicing.”

Graham Vernon, Buxton & Leek College’s Workplace Assessor for motor vehicle training, said:

“We provide everything you would expect to find in a garage to enable our students to do the practical jobs they are being trained for.

“As well as all the latest diagnostic tools, we have brand new cars for them to work on provided by Toyota and older vehicles which have been donated by local garages. Students have lots of opportunity to work on brakes, steering and suspension and learn the skills necessary to carry out MOT testing.”

Buxton & Leek College is an emfec member and boasts industry-standard facilities such as a fine dining restaurant and kitchens, and hair and beauty salons, as well as the Harpur Hill training centre for motor vehicle and logisitcs.