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Tuesday, January 8th 2008, 12:21 GMT+11:00
By Kelly Lewis published mid 2007 in 'The Border Watch'
MORE than 70 car enthusiasts were on hand to hear the engine of a newly built sportscar roar during its unveiling at Mount Gambier High School on Monday night.
The "Birkin Clubman" vehicle is a $43 000 investment in student learning by MountGambierHigh School and has been a cooperative task between the centre and donations from industry. MountGambierHigh School, in conjunction with the automotive industry in the South East, joined forces three years ago to establish the SACE accredited South East Automotive Certificate 1 course.
The course was initiated to encourage Year 11 students to obtain industry skills, which they could utilise in the automotive industry, and improve skilled work and retention shortages in the region This year, course coordinators, with their 32 members, undertook a large scale project to build a high quality sports car from scratch.
In April, the car was purchased from Sovereign Autos in Adelaide for $35 000. It came as a kit car to be assembled and just four months after its purchase, it is ready for its first spin on the open road.
Students learnt how to construct the all-aluminium, race ready, road going vehicle with donations and assistance from Carlin & Gazzard (paintwork), Trident Tyre Centre (wheels and tyres), Sovereign Autos, and a variety of businesses donating time, equipment and finance.
Weighing 650 kilograms, the two litre vehicle is capable of extra-ordinary handling and speeds that give a 'wind in the hair' experience.
The car will remain at the school for a short period, where it will be used to promote the course before it is put up for sale, with hope to fetch prices of upwards of $25,000.
During the unveiling, the school thanked sponsors and the industry partners who made the project possible with their generosity and enthusiasm to deliver a 'real life - hands on' course to Year 11 students, who will eventually be employed in the automotive industry.
Last year the course enabled 21 students to gain employment in the industry as a school-based apprentice or apprentice. Already this year, nine students have been signed for apprentice positions locally.
All students from South East schools are eligible to be involved in the program. For further information on the 2008 program, students need to contact the vocation education and training coordinator in their school, or ring the Automotive Centre on 0421 582 542, or 8725 6244.
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