The apprentices of the Brooklands-based ‘Heritage Skills Academy’ have been busy restoring a classic Mini – a project British Motor Heritage (BMH) is delighted to have assisted with. The company treated the trainees to a tour of its Witney factory and helped with the jigging of the new panels, which it also discounted for the cause. The entire project has been filmed by Middlechild TV, the result of which will be aired on the Yesterday Channel as part of Middlechild’s acclaimed series Secrets of the Transport Museum.
Based within the Brooklands Museum that’s the focus of the series, the ‘Heritage Skills Academy’ (HSA) operates a 42-month block release apprenticeship in the traditional coachbuilding skills required by the thriving classic car industry.
Said Development Director Owain Johns: “The coachwork and related mechanical course were established in direct response to the demands of the industry, and among the current crop of 150 apprentices we have representatives of such well-known classic car businesses as, Bristol Classic Car Restoration, Electrogenic, Lunaz, and Richards of England. The companies are great believers in what we are doing, and the apprentices love switching between their day jobs and the practical form of education we supply. It’s a win-win situation.”
Added BMH Managing Director Graham Payne: “We were very impressed by the apprentices when they visited our factory. So much so that we are seeking one of our own, and will certainly continue to aid the HSA in any way we can, as it is providing an excellent and much-needed service to our industry.”
The Mini the apprentices are restoring belongs to businessman Rob Pike. At the age of 18 he wanted a MKI Mini-Cooper, but could not obtain suitable insurance, so bought a new MKV Mini instead. Thirty-two years later, his teenage dream is being realised for, as well as restoring what had become a rotten wreck, the apprentices are converting the car from MKV to MKI Cooper specification. It’s another win-win situation.
Series 2 of Secrets of the Transport Museum began on February 1st, and will be aired weekly until April 5th, with the episode featuring the Mini due to be shown on March 29th (barring a change to the schedule).
Series 1 episodes are now available for viewing on UKTV – see https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/secrets-of-the-transport-museum/watch-online
Main Photo Caption: The Mini restoration in full swing