BikeBiz July 2021

Page 40

TALKING POINTS

Help fix the bike industry’s skills shortage havebike CEO Nick Brown has penned a letter to Gillian Keegan MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, calling for bicycle mechanic qualifications to be included in free Level 3 adult qualifications

Dear Gillian, I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you in my capacity as the CEO of havebike, Britain’s largest collect-and-return bike repair company, regarding the Government’s recent announcement within the Queen’s speech on Level 3 qualifications. I want to start by welcoming the Government’s commitment to measures that aim to bring about a significant increase in cycling in this country. As the CEO of a cycling business, I know how beneficial cycling can be; not only for individual enjoyment, convenience and health, but for the country as a whole, reducing congestion and pollution, improving public health, and making our towns and cities more pleasant environments to live in. It gives me great confidence to see the Prime Minister’s personal support for making Britain a genuinely great cycling nation. It was particularly encouraging to note the commitment (detailed in Gear Change) to seeing half of all journeys in towns and cities being walked or cycled by 2030. I also

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welcome the Government’s recent Fix Your Bike voucher scheme, giving people the opportunity to get back on their bikes. According to announcements in the recent Queen’s speech, almost 400 free courses are now available to adults without a full qualification at Level 3, ranging from engineering to healthcare to conservation, backed by government funding. I know just how challenging the coronavirus pandemic has been for both employees and businesses, and so this support is absolutely to be welcomed. It is vital that people are provided with the opportunity to reskill, or build on transferable skills from previous careers. However, it was disappointing to see that bicycle mechanic qualifications were not included in the list. If we are to realise the ambitious levels of cycling that the Government is aiming for, we need a significant increase in the number of mechanics, to ensure that the bikes people are riding are safe and roadworthy. With the number of people cycling continuing to increase, and many bike shops continuing to experience long delays for

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22/06/2021 14:07