Bike-building scheme for disadvantaged Londoners

Bikeworks' Cycle to Work program brings Barclays on board

Disadvantaged Londoners are being given the chance to develop their bike-building skills in a bid to boost their employment prospects.

London-based social enterprise Bikeworks conceived and developed the Cycle into Work scheme, which has been running since 2009. This year they’ve teamed up with Barclays and with their support they’ll continue to work directly with homeless hostels and shelters in the capital, taking their Build a Bike maintenance course to 150 disadvantaged youngsters. It’ll teach them key technical skills required to build their own bike, which they’ll get to keep - providing them with an affordable mode of transport for the future.

Build a Bike is a stepping stone towards the City & Guilds Cycle into Work qualification. Taking part in the course establishes whether a candidate has the skills and desire to take their training to the next level, which is a qualification in Cycle Mechanics and Customer Service. That course will be open to 50 people, which will be run as on-the-job training at Bikeworks’ training centres in Bethnal Green and Ladbroke Grove, London. Bikeworks have set themselves a target of 50 percent of graduates securing employment on completion.

To date, Bikeworks has seen 260 homeless people complete Build a Bike, 61 graduate from Cycle into Work and 39 qualify as bike mechanics. Of the 61, 35 have gone on to find employment, some with the operator of Barclays Cycle Hire. Graduates improve their prospects of getting a career in the cycling industry, as well as boosting their confidence and communication skills.

Dave Miller, co-founder of Bikeworks, said: “Bikeworks is delighted to have secured the support of Barclays to help us expand and improve Cycle into Work. In the current climate this kind of work is more essential than ever and we know that the programme makes a real difference to people’s lives. We expect to help many hundreds of individuals whilst providing the skilled workforce the cycling industry needs.”

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