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Teenager revved up for dream job at new visitor attraction

Posted onPosted on 12th May

Classic car superfan Luke Henshaw, (17), has started his dream apprenticeship at Great British Car Journey, Derbyshire’s newest visitor attraction.

Luke, a former student at The Brunts Academy, Mansfield, is a classic car apprentice at Great British Car Journey after a successful application to the prestigious Heritage Skills Academy (HSA) in Bicester.

He 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, because the workshop is open to visitors able to view the work being undertaken on 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 tail light. 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.

Luke is one of only a few Heritage apprentices in the UK who are training to become qualified craftspeople and heritage professionals to ensure the appropriate conservation, repair and maintenance of heritage assets.

Through the Heritage Skills Academy, which has gained international recognition as the UK’s Centre of Excellence for historic motoring and aviation, Luke will also spend time at the famous Brooklands Museum, Surrey, based on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit.

Luke said: “It’s like a dream come true. When I found the Heritage Skills Academy 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.”

Tickets for Great British Car Journey and the Drive Dad’s Car experience, , which open on 22nd May, can be booked online at www.greatbritishcarjourney.com and at www.drivedadscar.com.