The brakes are off for Rockingham Auto students

Attendances at Rockingham’s alternative education and training programs have continued to race ahead. In 2020 a total of 48 of the 52 students enrolled in the four automotive courses completed their certificate with success.

The fantastic attendance numbers were despite the impacts of COVID-19 and many of the students being disengaged and at-risk with some also coming from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We have had students who had terrible attendance rates or not attending school at all for over a year attend the auto course every single day,” says Rockingham PCYC Automotive Trainer Brenden Cosgrove, who’s hobby is drag car racing.

A total of 22 of the students in the fourth and final auto course for the year, plus some participants in the Weld to Life course, were treated to an excursion to the Perth Motorplex where Brenden raced his SSV Commodore. It was a great night for the students who got to work on Brenden’s car prior to the event, stripping down the engine, installing performance parts and re-building the engine. What a great real-life challenge it was, and the students were filled with a sense of pride and achievement when Brenden’s quarter mile time went from 14.2 seconds before the students rebuilt the engine to 12.2 seconds.

“The course included students from some of the most unfortunate backgrounds, including five young women, most of whom came to us with very little self-esteem,” says Brenden. “It is fantastic to see these young people rise up and succeed.”

More and more students are enrolling in TAFE courses towards the end of the Rockingham courses, some going from the auto course to apply for Weld to Life, some finding apprenticeships and some full-time employment.

“We encourage the students to keep moving forward and not to become disengaged again,” says Brenden. “We have also trialed a volunteer peer support position over the last two courses, in which a willing student who graduated the last course comes back to assist in the delivery of the present course.”