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Flanker students get auto training from CATI

Published:Saturday | January 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarrington Flemming


Flankers Primary and Junior High School and the Cornwall Automotive Training Institute (CATI) have forged a partnership to assist grade-nine students who are struggling academically to acquire skills training.

The programme is the brainchild of school principal Rupert Shaw, who said that he was inspired to assist the students, some in the ASTEP (Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme), and others who were not doing as well academically as the school would have liked.

"I realised that some of the students could simply not manage pure academics, so I thought that we would need to ensure that they would be equipped to function in society. So, I decided to approach Cornwall Automotive to see how best we could offer them the fundamentals of a skill to give them a start," Shaw said. "They too wanted to do something to give back to the community, so they welcomed the idea."

continuing the programme

The principal said based on the positive impact of the programme on the first cohort from the last school year, the decision was taken to continue it this year. On January 22, a second cohort of 25 students will begin a five to six-month training at CATI.

Thirteen of these students will be from the school's ASTEP centre and the others will be drawn from other classes.

"The boys and girls will have the option to go for sessions at CATI either on a Thursday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We still work with them in the classroom on the other days of the week, and we anticipate excellent results," Shaw said. "What we have found is that the students show greater interest in their school work (academics); they are focused and they function well in the vocational area, so the programme is working well," he said.

Melville Whittaker, acting manager of CATI, said after being presented with the proposal by Shaw, he immediately began putting plans together to design an appropriate programme for the students. "Mr Shaw was having serious challenges with grade-nine students at his school. They were not focused on academic work, so we decided that we would seek to introduce other activities that would not only interest them but assist them to be empowered," he said.

automotive technology

Whittaker explained that the students are introduced to automotive technology, which is complimented by the use of audio-visual presentations.

The students, he said, are also required to make a scrapbook from a topic they would have identified as an area of interest by doing the requisite research and finding the material to create the scrapbook.

"We break down the Level One unit in a way that would interest them. They are taken to the workshops and introduced to the machines and tools - the function of the tools that we use at a basic level. So, we have them building models of automotive parts. They are using measurements and they are also introduced to our safety standards," he said.

"At the end of the programme, we award each student a general certificate of attendance and participation," he added.

Shaw, for his part, has indicated that based on the initial success of the partnership with CATI, he was now busy trying to expand the vocational programme. He said he has already made contact with a hairdresser and is seeking a barber to transfer those skills to the youngsters.