Have you always wanted to work in a bike shop? Are you a natural tinkerer? Or do you just want to learn how to fix bikes?
You could be just what we’re looking for! We need volunteer mechanics to help out at our Byker workshop. We asked the workshop manager, Adrian, what sort of things people could help with, and here’s his list:
- Booking in donated bikes. Every bike donated is logged and appraised.
- Dismantling bikes – everyone, no matter what their experience, starts on this. It’s how we get to really appraise whether or not you know one end of a spanner from a lump hammer!
- Cleaning bikes – one of the biggest issues with some donated bikes is that they’ve never had a decent clean. But an hour with a bucket of water, some de-greasing jollop, and a toothbrush can turn a worthless piece of junk into a brand new bike.
- Prepping bikes – getting them ready for the qualified mechanics to finish off. Things like replacing brake blocks, identifying broken parts (& sourcing replacements from our extensive second hand stocks), running in cables ready to be connected up, etc
- Final assembly – Once qualified, you get to work on the final steps of our bike recycling work.
- Helping to keep the workshop clean and tidy – this can be anything from sweeping the floor to preparing the bikes that we’ll be sending to Africa for shipping.
- Anything else Ado asks of you.
What skills do you need for all this? Well, bearing in mind that we’ll train you on the important bits, it’s more about attitude than outright skills. You need to like working as part of a team, and doing your part in a wider scheme of things. You need to be interested in bikes, and support Recyke y’bike’s aims. Finally, you need to be reliable and trustworthy. Oh, and it helps if you’re slightly mechanically minded, but this is nowhere near essential.
Training & Qualifications: We work on the basis of progressive learning with our mechanics. So everyone starts of on dismantling, then you get to work on cleaning, then prepping. Up to this stage, it’s all on-the-job learning, with informal instruction / buddying up with other mechanics. Once people have been in the workshop for a good few months, and if they show aptitude (and are willing), we can put them through our certified training course. This runs about three times a year, on four consecutive Fridays, and at the end of this, you come away with a Velotech Gold certificate, which is the industry-recognised qualification for bike shop mechanics. The usual fee for this training is £450+VAT, but we train our volunteers for FREE.
What’s in it for you? Well obviously, you get a sense of doing good, plus discounts at our shops, and the potential to get that Velotech badge. Most of our staff started out as volunteers, and many of our volunteers have gone on to work at other bike shops. So if you’re looking to get into the bike business, this could be a great place to start. Similarly, if you’re looking to build your CV, voluntary work is a great way to boost your experience, and show you’re keen and willing. Around a quarter of our volunteers are retired – they volunteer because they still have a lot to contribute, and working with a charity is a great way to stay connected. So there’s something for everyone!
If all this sounds like just what you’re looking for, please fill in our volunteer application form, and we’ll get in touch!