Hounslow Council welcomes South Western Railways’ cash-boost to pump prime bike mechanic course

Hounslow Council is helping residents become bike mechanics thanks to a cash boost from South Western Trains.

Published: Monday, 8th July 2024

photo of a bike mechanic

Hounslow Council is gearing up to launch an innovative new programme to train residents to become bike mechanics after receiving a community cash boost from South Western Railways (SWR).

The Council’s Transport Team has been awarded more than £23,000 from SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) to provide training sessions to enable residents to become certified bicycle mechanics.

The initiative will provide comprehensive training and hands-on experience for 12 local people, leading to a City and Guilds Level 2 qualification. 

It will equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue careers in bicycle maintenance and repair, creating job opportunities for residents and boosting the borough’s sustainable transport ambitions. 

Residents completing the course will have all the skills they need to get work at a cycle repair shop or be able to run the popular Dr Bike repair sessions. 

The Dr Bike sessions have been a big hit at SWR stations. It is the Council’s ambition to ensure more of them take place as part of the training programme. The training programme will be up and running before March 25. The Council will be letting local people how they can express an interest soon.

The Council is particularly keen to hear from women and young people to take advantage of this scheme because they are currently underrepresented in the bicycle maintenance industry and face the most barriers to finding employment.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport, Cllr Katherine Dunne, said: 

“We are thrilled to receive this award from South Western Railways. This grant will enable us to create valuable training opportunities for our residents, promoting cycling as a viable and environmentally friendly mode of transport. Not only will this programme help people gain meaningful employment, but it will also contribute to our broader goals of reducing carbon emissions and supporting healthier lifestyles.”

The CCIF supports small and medium-sized projects with a community benefit or that address an area of social need somewhere on the SWR network. Since the scheme began in 2018, it has awarded more than £7m to a wide range of projects. 

It is the second year that Hounslow Council has successfully applied for funding from the SWR Communities and Customer Improvement Fund.

Peter Williams, South Western Railway Customer and Commercial Director, said:

“We're very proud to support this year's projects, which all share our vision of seeing local communities thrive. CCIF provides investment that makes a real difference to people in towns and villages across our network.

“We were inspired by Hounslow Council’s mission and the passionate team behind the project. Not only does the scheme offer hands-on experience and future career opportunities, but it also helps promote long-term sustainable travel. We look forward to seeing the project grow and the positive impact that the completed project will have on the Hounslow community.” 

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