Praise for ‘exceptional’ young people at SKIDZ awards’ night
A special awards night has recognised the achievements of young people who have successfully completed vehicle maintenance courses with Buckinghamshire-based motor project charity SKIDZ.
The evening ceremony, held at the charity’s garage workshops in High Wycombe on Thursday, 16th July, was attended by students, their families and VIP guests including the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire Francesca Skelton and Wycombe District Council Chairman Ian McEnnis.
Two of the charity’s patrons Paddy Hopkirk and Earl Howe were also on hand to present certificates to some of the 38 students who passed Institute of Motor Industry Level 1 and 2 car maintenance courses and the ABC awards in which modules are selected to build up hands-on experience.
The High Sheriff presented special awards to Mark Tributo (Attendance), Billy Powell (Personal Development) and Mitchel McKee (Outstanding Achievement). Course Director Mick Derry described the trio as having made ‘outstanding progress and achieved beyond their own expectations in so many areas’.
Mr Derry told the audience there was an exciting year ahead for the charity with an increased number of students, some of whom will be taking the IMI Level 3 course, a new apprenticeship scheme and a new evening course for women wanting to learn more about car maintenance.
Following the presentations, Chair of Trustees David Lister thanked the students for their hard work in achieving ‘exceptional results’ and parents for their support. He praised the instructors for their dedication and the support staff for keeping the charity running. He also thanked the patrons for their work in raising SKIDZ’s profile and said that funding was a major issue for the charity.
He added: “We have developed a plan to be self-supporting within 18 months. The money we receive from the schools and colleges with which we work pays for 50-75% of our work and we have to find the rest. We must find new partners to help bridge that gap. Everyone here knows how vital this work is, we must spread that message further.”
Wycombe Council Chairman Mr McEnnis became involved with the charity in 2002. He said: “Education in schools is vital but everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their expectations. That is why charities like SKIDZ are so vital. I have always been so impressed by their passion to help these young people succeed.”
Since its launch 16 years ago SKIDZ has helped more than 8,000 disaffected and disadvantaged young people in the region to gain vocational skills in motor mechanics.
The charity also works with local schools and Amersham and Wycombe College to offer all students an opportunity to access motor mechanics courses and hopes to roll out its framework for supporting young people at risk of ‘going off track’ across the country.
SKIDZ was launched in High Wycombe in 1998 in response to a surge in car crime in the area and has since evolved into an important educational programme offering motor courses to schools and colleges locally. SKIDZ hopes to extend its operation nationally in the future with the number plate business helping to fund expansion and pay for more full-time trainers. The charity's existing six full-time trainers currently provide courses for 300 students, aged from 13-19 years, each week and have helped around 8,000 young people since its launch. To find out more about SKIDZ and how to get involved or make a donation, please visit the SKIDZ website.
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PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
22nd July 2015