havebike CEO Nick Brown has called for bicycle mechanic qualifications to be included in the list of free level 3 adult qualifications in a letter to Gillian Keegan MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills.
During the Queen’s Speech in May this year, the Government set out its plans for skills and lifetime education. As part of this, 400 free courses are now available to adults without a full qualification at Level 3, ranging from engineering to healthcare to conservation, backed by government funding. Despite the Government’s commitment to cycling, backed personally by the Prime Minister, no bicycle mechanic qualifications were included in the list.
In a letter to Keegan, Brown outlined the ongoing delays that many bike shops are experiencing alongside a growing industry concern around shortages of qualified mechanics, to highlight the need to include bicycle mechanic qualifications in the list of those available to eligible adults.
Within the letter, Brown said: “If we are to realise the ambitious levels of cycling that the Government is aiming for, we need a significant increase in the number of mechanics, to ensure that the bikes people are riding are safe and roadworthy. With the number of people cycling continuing to increase, and many bike shops continuing to experience long delays for repairs and servicing, investing in these qualifications is essential for the future.’’
With recent figures showing that there are estimated to be over 38 million unused bikes in the UK, there is a substantial and untapped number of people who could take up cycling if the skills capacity and infrastructure are in place.
“Like many people in the cycling industry, I have been impressed by the Government’s commitment to cycling, as laid out in Gear Change,” said Brown. “However, if we are to truly realise the many benefits of large-scale take up of travelling by bike, we need to make sure that there are enough qualified mechanics in place to keep everyone’s bikes in a safe condition.
“I’m calling for bicycle mechanic qualifications to be included in the list of level 3 qualifications available for free to eligible adults, to make sure we are investing in the future.”
Read the June issue of BikeBiz below: