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₤18m announced for cycle training for children and their families

AS restrictions are cautiously lifted in line with the roadmap, Government encourages parents and pupils to choose active travel as a safe and healthy way to get around. The UK's Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, on Friday, 9 April 2021, announced ₤18m for cycle training across the country to ensure children and their families have the confidence to choose active travel, as the Government encourages everyone walk or cycle where possible.

The funding, which is managed by The Bikeability Trust charity, will go toward delivering high quality, practical, on road cycle training as a modern day equivalent of the:- 'Cycling Proficiency' scheme many parents will themselves have undertaken during their School days.

Bikeability goes beyond the playground, teaching children to cycle safely on modern roads. At different levels, children learn to:-

Develop early cycle handling and awareness skills (Bikeability Balance)

Master pedalling (Bikeability Learn to Ride)

Prepare for on road cycling (Level 1)

Cycle on single lane roads and simple junctions (Level 2)

Handle busier streets, complex junctions and roundabouts (Level 3)

For families looking to improve their confidence cycling together, Local Authorities can offer bespoke Bikeability Family training sessions with an instructor, to help them feel confident in a range of scenarios, from a weekend ride to commuting and taking the children to school. Today's investment will help ensure children are road ready on their bikes as Schools and families prepare for the summer term.

Physical activity like walking and cycling is proven to have numerous benefits, both in terms of fitness, wellbeing and attentiveness in school, and research into Bikeability cycle training specifically also shows that, after taking part, parents were more likely to feel confident in allowing their child to cycle independently.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:- "Cycling is a fun and healthy way for pupils to get to school, and we want as many as possible to make it their choice of transport. With social distancing still a necessity, the more people who walk or cycle, the more we can ease pressure on public transport as people return to normal life. But we know not all children, or parents, feel bike confident. Today's funding will kick start our plans to provide Bikeability training to all children by 2025, giving the next generation of cyclists a life skill and the confidence they need to choose a more active way to travel."

Since its launch in 2006, more than 3.5 million children have taken part in Bikeability training, learning basic cycle handling skills, assessing risks and how to ride safely and confidently on the road.

Emily Cherry, Executive Director, Bikeability Trust said:- "The commitment of Government to fund Bikeability in this next year is hugely welcomed as we seek to ensure that every child can access cycling as a life skill by 2025. This record investment will allow us to reach more children and, importantly, their families too, as a result of additional funding for our Family module. Personally, I know the value of Bikeability cycle training for both children and their parents, having taken part in family training with my teacher husband and our children. Now, they cycle to school daily using the skills they learned from the training and as a family, we continue to enjoy cycling together. Bikeability is the first step to ensure that adults and children alike have the confidence and competence to cycle."

Pupils of all ages should consider walking or cycling to School, especially if they live a short distance away from their School or College. For those who live further afield and who are using public transport, plan ahead, allow more time for journeys and follow safer travel advice including wearing a face covering unless under the age of 11 or you are exempt, social distancing where possible and regularly sanitising your hands. For those who are driving, they should avoid sharing a car with someone outside of their household or support bubble.

Construction students gain valuable insights from industry

CONSTRUCTION Crafts and Professional Construction students from Hugh Baird College had the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the industry with a talk from construction company Whitfield and Brown and their subcontractors.

Whitfield and Brown, based in Widnes, provide construction and development services to both the public and private sectors. The company is currently refurbishing 15 classrooms, at Hugh Baird College's Balliol Road Campus, redeveloping them into modern learning spaces with digital displays and class collaboration surfaces.

The talk, held virtually, saw students engage with an in depth Q&A session about the construction industry with employees of Whitfield and Brown and their subcontractors; IBI Group and Barlows UK. The students also gathered recommendations and advice about their own specific career progression.

Speaking after the talk, Jim Hankin, Assistant Director, Technical Skills, at Hugh Baird College, said:- "Today's talk and Q&A with Whitfield and Brown and their subcontractors was a priceless experience for our students. By linking with employers in this way, it ensures our students are aware of where their studies can take them and offers them an insight into what the industry expects from them. I would like to thank Whitfield and Brown and their subcontractors for taking the time to talk to our students today as they prepare to enter into the world of work."

Carpentry and Joinery student, James Wallace, aged 17 from Walton, said:- "The opportunity to put questions to workers in the industry I aspire to be in was incredible. I was able to gain some solid advice and direction that will help toward me taking my 1st step on my career ladder when I complete my studies here, at Hugh Baird College."

Zoe Brooke, Director at Whitfield and Brown, said:- "It was a privilege to speak directly with the future talent of the construction industry. To listen to the students talk with passion and enthusiasm about the careers they are following was a delight to hear. It's safe to say, the future of the construction industry is in good hands."

For further information about the Construction Crafts and Professional Construction courses available, at Hugh Baird College, visit:- HughBaird.AC.UK or call:- 01513534444.

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