A unique program called Youth Moto Workshop will offer youths aged 13 to 17 in the Kandos-Rylstone district the opportunity to gain practical workshop skills in motorbike safety, maintenance and repairs.
This hands-on, skills-based program was discussed recently by organisers Ken Hopkins from the Harley Museum in Kandos and Rylstone Police Constable Matt Kane.
They met with Kandos High School Principal James Armitage, Mid-Western Regional Councillor Peter Shelley, local mechanic John Cauchi and a couple of parents.
They all gave the seal of approval to this planned activity which to their knowledge is the first of its kind to be trialled in the state.
It will be run under the umbrella of Mudgee PCYC and if successful they will look at a similar one in Mudgee.
Ken Hopkins says it’s based around getting back the old skills.
“We’re covering all the basic activities that will give participants the skills to fully service a motorbike and even bring it back to life in some cases.
“One workshop for instance will comprise upholstery and will focus on stitching.
Another will be on chains and suspension, another an oil changes etc. There will event be full rebuilds.”
Once the program gets up and running they’ll be considering lots of other options too such as day trips.
There’ll be no riding involved at this stage as they are only authorised to do workshop activities.
They will be looking to extend later if it works out.
“The main objectives are to help kids stay out of trouble while learning practical skills.
It will also provide positive interaction with police.”
Though there will be no formal accreditation, the workshops can result in references.
This will provide other benefits such as gift vouches to the Lue bike track and motor bike helmets.
A major prize of a fully restored bike will also be gifted to the best performer, based on attendance and general behaviour.
“If kids have their own bikes and can’t service them or can’t afford to repair them this will be a great opportunity for them,” Ken said.
Already, Ken and Matt have received a bike for the group to work on, kindly donated by Kim Briggs.
If anyone else has an old bike they are willing to donate it will be gratefully accepted.
They are also looking for community donations of money to help make the program a success.
An open day will be held soon for people to attend and learn more about the workshop program.
It will be on a Sunday afternoon and the community will be advised of the date.