Mansfield classic car superfan gets his dream apprenticeship
A classic car superfan from Mansfield is on the road to success after landing his dream apprenticeship at the Great British Car Journey attraction in Derbyshire.
Luke Henshaw, 17, a former student at the Brunts Academy in town, has been employed as a classic car apprentice after his 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 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 as the workshop is open to visitors able to view the work being undertaken on the vehicles.
As part of his role, the teenager will be working with Mark to ensure 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 taillight. 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 a classic Opel Manta 72 which he is restoring.
He is one of only a few apprentices who are training to become qualified craftspeople and heritage professionals to ensure the appropriate conservation, repair and maintenance of historic assets.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said. “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.”