The Bike Academy project aims to support and encourage young people into cycling who are not currently engaging in education or employment, and teach them new skills.
What is this project?
The Bike Academy project works with young people via schools and youth groups across Glasgow, to deliver training sessions in bike mechanics and handling skills. We form relationships with groups and then deliver activities for the young people, including:
- City & Guilds qualifications in cycle mechanics
- After-school clubs
- Group rides
- A qualification in Cycle Ride Leading
- School holiday cycling clubs
- Fix Your Own Bike (FYOB) sessions for secondary schoolkids
Alongside practical learning experiences, we work with the young people to develop soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, and communication. We ensure the safety of all our young people (and indeed, any adults we work with too) through our Safeguarding policy.
The Bike Academy run a Youth Volunteering Programme, which gives young people the chance to volunteer at Bike For Good. We offer bespoke volunteering opportunities, flexible to the young person’s time and needs. A volunteering placement at Bike For Good will provide valuable skills and development opportunities in the workshop, projects team, or shop floor. This is a great CV-enhancer and can open doors to future jobs for young people.
Additionally, we partner with The Venture Trust to deliver a programme called The Change Cycle, providing a 3-week long course for young people aged 16-24 who have left school and are ready to go into the working world. It includes:
- Bike construction and maintenance including workshop experience
- Employability sessions
- Short wilderness residential (including work-related tasks and biking)
- Qualifications – including City & Guilds, iHASCO online health & safety and First Aid
- One-to-one support, mentoring and coaching
- Development of an action plan
Who can benefit?
The Bike Academy is aimed at young people facing barriers in life. They may be disengaged from traditional education, or not currently in education or employment. We target them through the use of cycling as a tool to build and enhance their skills, confidence, and employability.
When I first started working at Bike for Good, I wasn’t very confident – I didn’t know what I was doing and wanted to hide in the corner. Now I’m so confident and I’m the one showing new people what to do. It’s made me happier … I’ve learned so much – working on bikes, teaching kids how to cycle, doing training like Velotech and FirstAid. I wouldn’t normally get to do stuff like that. The best thing ever was when I taught a kid to cycle for the first time in Queen’s Park – it was the best feeling ever!”
Luke, Bike Academy graduate
Why is it necessary?
We want to provide a supported journey for young people who are not planning or able to go down the traditional academic studies route. Bike mechanical skills are a valuable asset, and our Bike Academy project instills a sense of trust and responsibility within young people which they may not have experienced before. We provide a structured alternative education which builds confidence and self-esteem for young people facing barriers. The Bike Academy recognises that school or academic studies are not for everyone, and we have created a space where other young people can engage and develop.
Impact so far
The Bike Academy project started in 2015. Since then, we have engaged with over 500 young people, and enabled over 300 to gain accredited qualifications. We have received hugely positive feedback from teachers, youth workers, community workers and young people alike – with noted improvements including health, confidence and motivation in the young participants.
When do activities take place?
We provide activities year-round, based on the needs of the schools or youth groups that we work with. The Bike Academy can deliver training sessions within the school day, if there are periods in which the young people are not attending class.
We also structure cycling rides and clubs for after-school, and in the school holidays.
Where does this project serve?
The Bike Academy works with secondary schools and youth groups across Glasgow. We are able to come to you at your location, or we can run training from our Glasgow West and Glasgow South Community Hubs.
How can you engage with this project?
If you are interested in getting involved with the Bike Academy project, please contact:
- For school or youth group partnerships: email@example.com
- For youth volunteering programme: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bike Academy is funded by The Henry Smith Charity.
The Change Cycle programme that we run with Venture Trust is funded by Cashback for Communities.
We would like to express our thanks to our funders for making this work possible for the young people of Glasgow.