Training the Trainer

In November of 2020, I was enrolled on the Velotech 'Train the Instructor' course; a week of instruction aimed at teaching me the necessary skills to award all levels of the Velotech qualification. Covering all aspects of bike maintenance, from setting up a pre-built bike, to preparing a bike frame for assembly, the course proved to be an invaluable experience, and after 5 particularly intensive, but ultimately very rewarding days at the Velotech training centre in Stoke-on-Trent, I am now a fully qualified Velotech instructor.

With options to gain qualifications ranging from the most basic to the most advanced elements of bike maintenance, this will significantly increase the potential quality of the instruction offered at the bike project, and should also increase the numbers of residents participating in the bike project by offering something beyond its initial scope. The residents who participate will be able to put themselves forward for this qualification after completing the first part of the project, where they refurbish two bikes with one being donated to charity, and one being kept by the resident.

Possessing even the most basic level of the Velotech qualification will also increase the opportunities for those participants at the bike project who wish to pursue their bike maintenance skills after leaving the hostel. It will, for example, give them a significant advantage in their chances of gaining employment within the cycle industry, where most employers prefer applicants to have a certain level of maintenance knowledge before being considered for a job.

The current lock down restrictions have also afforded the ideal opportunity to prepare the workshop to deliver this qualification; an inventory of tools must be taken to ensure all aspects of the Velotech qualification can be taught, bikes must be prepared to use as teaching aids, and a trial run of the course will also be undertaken, with Tony Reardon from Achieve North West Connect kindly offering to assume the role of pupil.

Dave Meadows, Instructor at St Joseph's Approved Premises