16 November 2020

Motor vehicle engineering students are revved-up and ready to roll out a new business venture at West Nottinghamshire College’s Engineering Innovation Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Students on the Level 2 Diploma in Vehicle Inspection have officially launched the WNC Autocentre to college staff, offering them a vehicle maintenance and repair service at competitive rates.

The business is part of a range of college learning companies which have launched this academic year. A number of curriculum areas have developed learning companies for their students, which will help them to nurture entrepreneurial and business skills, offer them a different kind of industry experience before starting their careers, and work with real customers.

Students Kimberley Caldicott, 27, and Benjamin Howcroft, 26, are just two of the Level 2 diploma students (pictured) who combine their day-to-day studies with working on vehicles at WNC Autocentre.

The group are offering staff a range of services which will be available one day a week. Staff can take their vehicles in to the college’s vehicle workshop and training area for brake maintenance and repair, tyre replacement, wheel balancing and tracking, exhaust repairs, suspension maintenance and repair, bulb and wiper replacement, and a range of car service options.

Student Benjamin Howcroft from Forest Town, said: “We’re all looking forward to taking the company forward and getting stuck in. We’ve got the skills and plenty of experience to offer this service to staff. We’ve worked on producing marketing materials as well as the labour costs to charge a fair price.

“We’ve been getting quite a few bookings already and we’re thrilled with the level of interest we’ve had at such an early stage.”

And their first customer last week was none other than principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley who took his car in for a winter health check and to have a problem with the heater fixed.

After collecting his car from the Engineering Innovation Centre Andrew said:  “I was thrilled to be the first customer of our new motor vehicle learning company. It really is a fantastic service which we can offer our staff whilst giving engineering students this exceptional real client experience.

“It’s being expertly supported by learning advisor James Duncan and bringing the centre an income too. I’m feeling very reassured now my car’s had its winter check – it’s running beautifully and since the coolant pipe has been fixed, the heater is fully functioning again.”

Student John Rosbottom, who undertook the work on the principal’s car, said: “It was good to work on Mr Cropley’s car which came in for a winter check and to see why he was getting smoke through the air vents.

“Upon inspection we found there was a hole in the coolant line which left no coolant in the system. We repaired this with some pipework and resolved the leak. Mr Cropley seemed very happy with the work we did and I hope he will come to us again if he needs us in the future.”

Engineering learning advisor James Duncan said: “Our students are very well-prepared to deliver this service to staff. They’ve got all the skills needed to undertake a wide range of mechanical work and they’ve worked incredibly well on all aspects of building a business. We’ve got a number of staff already booked in which is really encouraging.”

Thank you to Rebecca Howarth from West Nottinghamshire College for submitting this news story. If you would like to share a news story from your organisation, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at media@skillsedugroup.co.uk