Driven to succeed: CedarBridge students get hands-on training as mechanics
Youngsters are getting hands-on training as mechanics through a unique partnership between a school and an auto engineering workshop.
The link-up between CedarBridge Academy and Noble Auto provides opportunities for apprenticeships.
Fernando Oliveira, a mechanic and owner of Noble Auto, said: “There was a bit of a lapse in the training programmes in Bermuda.
“The key is that it starts with CedarBridge — without them, the rest of it falls apart.”
The apprenticeship programme allows students as young as 12 to work as interns and shadow the mechanics at Noble Auto, which is on CedarBridge’s Devonshire campus.
Mr Oliveira said: “There’s an A-Z plan in place for them when they start with us.
“We offer part-time employment when they begin and work closely with the Early Childhood Career Pathways Programme as well as the National Training Board to ensure their certifications.”
He added: “They will also have funds put away for college and we try to employ them when they return.
“We help to place them either with us, Mill’s Creek Marina or Works and Engineering. We’ve got about 20 apprentices now in different fields”.
The demand for well-trained mechanics remains high.
Mr Oliveira said: “Everybody has a car. By entering this field, you are guaranteeing yourself lifelong employment.”
Nick Fletcher, a CedarBridge former pupil, found out about the apprenticeship programme through the school’s careers fair.
He said, “School didn’t really interest me. This programme made high school much more enjoyable. No other schools in Bermuda provide this.”
Acting CedarBridge principal Kenneth Caesar said the school placed a strong emphasis on technical and vocational education in conjunction with traditional academic work.
He added: “CedarBridge Academy is here to provide students with a comprehensive education and if they chose to go down the technical route, we’re here to meet their needs.”
Mr Caesar said, “We recognise that our students need to be exposed to many different types of education. Here at CedarBridge, we are committed to providing that”.
Damon Rogers, CedarBridge’s automotive teacher, added: “There’s a vast amount of enthusiasm for the course and the kids are doing really well.”