Thursday, October 26, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

College And Chamber Drive 'Cars for Communities’ Initiative

Mackay Engineering College have partnered with the Mackay Chamber of Commerce to deliver the ‘Cars for Communities’ initiative, revving up this year to donate four newly refurbished cars to not-for-profit organisations.

Mackay Engineering College was built in 2011 with funding from Queensland State Government to allow students from the Mackay region state schools to take part in vocational training programs.  

Students from Year 11 and 12 from the six local state high schools are currently completing their Certificate II in Automotive Electrical Technology over the course of the 2023 school year.

The students attend the college for one day a week and spend at least one week out of every school term committing themselves to work experience, to get amongst the automotive industries and prepare for future apprenticeships.

The students have learnt a range of skills to achieve their competencies, such as basic motor servicing and studying the purposes of all operating components within a vehicle, like gearboxes and transmissions.  

Anthony Puddicombe from Mackay Engineering College commented on the ‘real-world experience’ the students are achieving, stating: “It’s a great opportunity for them to work on a real car rather than just a part of a car that’s a simulator.

“They can relate back to what we’ve shown them based on what they’re doing within their [future] apprenticeships.”

The ‘Cars for Communities’ initiative started back at the end of 2022. The sourcing of scrapped cars began in February this year, with students spending this year repairing the cars to road-safety standards.

Cars have been donated to the Mackay Engineering College by parents and interested community members. Previously, students had restored vehicles that were ultimately sent to the wreckers, whereas now they will make a significant difference to the wider community.

The initiative sees a selection process held by the Mackay Chamber of Commerce, who receive applications from not-for-profit organisations and decide who will benefit the most.

Mr Puddicombe stated, “The fact that a not-for-profit can get a car and use it for their needs, whether it is learner drivers or visiting people in homes that need [support], it’s a great opportunity.”

Chamber Committee Member Cathy Sullivan said: “Mackay Region Chamber are very excited to announce an exciting opportunity for community not-for-profit organisations to receive the gift of mobility.”

The first fleet of four are now ready to be donated, with the Year 11 and 12 students working diligently throughout 2023 to achieve this impressive goal.

Repco, Beaurepairs, Protector Autoglass, Bakers Creek Wreckers and DC Power and Auto have supplied their time, parts and services to the college to assist with the project.

Without the support of these local businesses, the dedicated student workers of ‘Cars for Communities’ would have struggled to maintain such a high standard in the restoration of vehicles.

Mackay Engineering College, Mackay Chamber of Commerce and local sponsors

Year 11 and 12 students in action with mechanical repairs

Credit: Sinead Porter

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