Young learners from a school for children on the autistic spectrum have just been awarded their second certificates on a nationally recognised course for bike maintenance.
Four students from LVS Hassocks have been studying hard in the evenings for their Velotech awards, working towards qualifications to help them when they leave the school which would put them on a par with bike shop employees.
The course has provided the four participants with a social outlet and entry into an interesting and exciting hobby together, but is also equipping them with skills which will assist them in enjoying independent living when they leave LVS Hassocks, which is one of the school’s main aims.
Subsidised by the local council, Nick Marks from Sussex Bike Training has been teaching the young learners every Tuesday evening and they recently completed the second module of seven which, if they reach the highest Platinum level, would qualify them to manage bikes at the Tour de France! Achieving the Gold award will give learners a qualification recognised as suitable to facilitate employment by bike shops such as Halfords.
The school has its own bike shed full of bikes that have either been donated by parents or brought in by learners, allowing them to ride around the school’s beautiful expansive grounds and help mend and adjust bikes for each other.
Dylan said: “It is nice to be able to learn a really useful practical skill that I can take away with me and will be of use to me in the future” with Rhys adding: “The qualifications are helping us to enjoy a healthy outdoor lifestyle – the grounds here at LVS Hassocks are perfect for riding around – and it has really boosted my confidence to know I can do it”.
Craig Sullivan, teacher at LVS Hassocks who instigated the training, emphasised the importance of the Velotech qualifications for the learners involved: “It is great additional learning for them – I have noticed that learners on the autistic spectrum like the order of the way bikes can be put together and disassembled. The course is really empowering for the boys and it is noticeable how much their confidence has increased in general since they started”.
Head of Centre Kira Brabenec said: “We are really proud of Will, Dylan, Dan and Rhys. They have put so much time and effort into their qualifications and it highlights the enthusiasm we are able to encourage for our range of post-curricular activities”.
Report and picture contributed by LVS Hassocks.