Hand Brake Turn recently reached another huge milestone when we celebrated our 10,000th student graduating from the program. It’s been a big year for milestones – earlier this year we marked 25 years of Hand Brake Turn at events in Braybrook and Dandenong.
At the graduation celebration for Class 57 at our Braybrook site, student Jayden was presented with a certificate, a Bunnings gift card, a tool kit and a special trophy made out of an engine piston to honor him as the 10,000th Hand Brake Turn graduate.
Jayden’s father, Lee, said his son is passionate about cars, and had been working on vehicles with him since he was young. He recently bought Jayden an old VT Commodore, and now Jayden spends his pocket money on parts and works on it all the time.
“This Hand Brake Turn course is a milestone for him,” said Lee. “He wasn’t interested in school. Now he’s found something that he enjoys, it’s definitely given him a pathway. Hopefully he can get a good career. It’s a foot in the door. We’re real proud.”
Jayden’s mother, Emma, said that the 15-year-old had been waiting for a chance to be part of Hand Brake Turn since last year, and that he was so committed that he travelled on public transport by himself from Melton to Braybrook every day.
“We couldn’t be prouder,” she said.
Yahye Ali, Workshop Coordinator for our Braybrook site, said Jayden was an outstanding student.
“He was keen and punctual, and very proud of what he was doing,” Yahye said. “He knows a fair bit from working at home with his dad, so he was showing a lot of initiative and teaching other students what to do. It was good to have him here.
“With the knowledge that he has, if he sticks with it, he’ll do well.”
We are very pleased that Jayden has now started a trial with a car dealership in the hope of securing an apprenticeship.
A class project
Jayden and his classmates worked together on a significant project during the course.
“Class 57 was very committed and enthusiastic,” said Hand Brake Turn Program Manager Ian Dubbeld. “We had two old Commodores that were donated to Hand Brake Turn, one that was better mechanically, the other had a higher-quality interior.
“We were just going to get the students to swap a few things over from one to the other, but they were so keen that they ended up doing a full switchover of the vehicles.
“This included moving a lot of the interior of one car to the other, such as seats and door trims, along with external parts such as wheels, tail shaft and roof rack,” Ian said.
“They’re one of the first class groups to do that. We were very impressed. It meant we ended up with a much better car that will now be sold, and the money will go back into the Hand Brake Turn program.”
25 years of automotive training
Hand Brake Turn began operating from a car yard in South Melbourne in 1994 when Rev Dr John Smith and the God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club identified that young men coming out of the criminal youth justice system were disengaged from the community. They had no positive role models to steer them in the right direction, and lacked opportunities for employment or education.
More than 25 years later, we continue to provide opportunities for young people coming out of youth justice or disengaged with school or community to gain a sense of purpose. We train them with practical and technical motor mechanic skills while also building their life skills, confidence and job readiness, creating positive outcomes and employment pathways.