Pupils at Castle Rushen High School are learning some practical skills ahead of entering the world of work.

The 15- and 16-year-olds have been learning about car body repairs in a programme that aims to equip students with practical industry-relevant skills that will prepare them for the world of work.

Hannah Grove, the school’s work experience coordinator, said: ‘This initiative not only teaches valuable technical skills but also instils a sense of pride and accomplishment, fosters teamwork, problem solving and attention to details.’

Under the guidance of Steve Woodward, owner of Scuffs R Us, a mobile car body repair business, students are learning all about bumper scuffs, scratches, dents and alloy wheel repairs.

Mr Woodward approached the school to offer to help pupils learn about the trade.

Now 14 pupils are involved, although only one girl is so far involved.

‘It’s working really well,’ Mrs Grove said. ‘It’s mainly for students who don’t have a full timetable, possibly because they are not thriving in a mainstream classroom setting.

‘This is giving them practical, hands-on and vocational skills and it’s been really successful.

‘I guess in a way it’s like going back to the sixties when people did more woodworking and metalworking in schools.’

They have had the opportunity to completely fix up a car which was donated, and members of the staff team have offered up their cars for repair too. Even the headteacher has trusted them with his car.

‘With these skills they will be able to go into a body shop and say to a mechanic “I can already do these things”.

‘So they are well set up for a job at the end of it.’

Three or four of the pupils already have jobs lined up for when they leave school next year.

Some will not necessarily go into the car repair business but the learning goes beyond that.

‘We have given them some practical skills and work experience that they can leave school with.

‘They include soft skills like teamwork, attention to detail, problem-solving and communication.

‘All of those skills are important for the workplace after they’ve left school.’

Among comments made by students were:

‘Scuffs doesn’t just teach you car skills, we are taught life skills.’

‘Scuffs can get you good work experience for better jobs in the future.’

‘Steve doesn’t feel like a teacher, he feels like a friend, Steve is very supportive, he is like an older brother, this helped me because my brother died a few years ago.’

‘Scuffs makes me happy.’

Mrs Grove added: ‘The Scuffs R Us programme is a great example of how hands-on education can prepare students for successful careers. Not everyone enjoys being in a classroom and it’s been an absolute privilege to watch these students flourish in a new area of learning, they really have excelled!’