Derbyshire’s Great British Car Journey gives golden opportunity to young apprentice
A classic car superfan has started his dream apprenticeship at Derbyshire’s newest visitor attraction.
Luke Henshaw a former student at The Brunts Academy in Mansfield, has been employed as Great British Car Journey’s classic car apprentice after his successful application to the prestigious Heritage Skills Academy (HSA) in Bicester.
The 17-year-old is now working and learning alongside the attraction’s own time-served mechanic and renowned classic car specialist, Mark Lawrence, at the site based in Ambergate.
Luke’s developing skills, using spanners and sprockets rather than computers on the 168-strong fleet of classic cars, will be under double scrutiny at the attraction – as the workshop is open to visitors able to view the work being undertaken on the vehicles.
As part of his role, Luke will be working with Mark to ensure that the cars on display in the main hall, many of which are more than 50-years-old, are in full working order.
He will also be helping to keep a fleet of 32 classic British cars maintained and fully roadworthy for the Drive Dad’s Car experience.
Luke said: “Some days I am working on an Austin Metro and a Ford Escort and other days it can be an Austin Seven or Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.
“No two days are the same and no cars are the same.
“We have to constantly consult the old Haynes manuals to find out where things like the bonnet release catch is and even the fuel cap on one car, which was disguised as a taillight.
“I absolutely love it.”
Luke has grown up with a love of classic cars after he and his father restored a classic Opel Manta 82 together.
Despite not yet being able to drive, Luke owns his own classic Opel Manta 72 which he is restoring.
As part of his apprenticeship, Luke will also spend time at the famous Brooklands Museum, based on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit.
He said: “It’s like a dream come true.
“When I found the HSA apprenticeship and saw what they specialised in, it was as though the course was tailored especially for me.
“Getting the apprenticeship with Great British Car Journey is absolutely amazing.
“I am now able to develop my skills and knowledge whilst working.
“I’ve got lots of support from the team at Great British Car Journey and to be working with someone as skilled and knowledgeable about classic cars as Mark is incredible.”
Richard Usher, owner of Great British Car Journey, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Luke and we’re delighted to welcome him on board.
“His passion and enthusiasm for classic cars was evident from the moment I met him and his hunger for learning was a key element in his appointment.
“Keeping our cars in full working order is a full-time job and Luke is already impressing us all.”
The final touches are now being put to the visitor attraction which opens on May 22.