Linkage College students claim top awards

Trophy glory for Linkage students. EMN-140407-160715001
Trophy glory for Linkage students. EMN-140407-160715001

A motorbike built by students with learning disabilities at Linkage College in Lincolnshire has powered its way to trophy success.

Gaining an impressive haul at the 2014 National Youth Bike competition, the students also gained the coveted Public Choice vote.

The students, led by lecturer and motorbike enthusiast Karl Crawford, spent a year developing a 125cc motorcycle at Linkage’s Toynton All Saints campus near Spilsby, stripping it down to component parts and rebuilding to their ‘Greased Lightning’ theme.

The team won five prizes in all: Fantasy Section - Best in Show, Fantasy Section - Best Decorated, Wolds Bikers’ MCC Choice and the Jamie Yendall Memorial trophy for ‘Endeavour Through Adversity’, and also the Public Choice Trophy.

The motorcycle building competition, aimed at schools, colleges and youth groups, took place at Sir William Robertson High School in Welbourn, near Lincoln and included two nights camping.

Karl said “The students worked on the bike as part of a Functional Skills project enabling the learners to use their English and maths, ICT, independence, team-building, employability and fundraising skills in a fun and practical course. It is a fantastic achievement and even better for Linkage, as we have been given two bikes as well as additional parts for next year’s competition.”

The students involved were: Stefanie Perkins, Georgina Grayson, Alex Smith, Chris Goff, Kiaya Low, Edward Revill, Sam Gilbert, Lowenna Keast and Adam Bunster.

One of the main competition rules was that each project had to be self-funded.

The learners raised money by creating and selling Christmas gifts at a fair organised by Linkage to purchase parts and tools.

This boosted their creativity as well as allowing them to take more of an ownership of the project.

Students also visited local bike nights to raise the profile of Linkage in the county.

College principal Matthew Orford said: “This is such a superb achievement for the students and staff. There were so many educational elements to building a motorbike, as well as invaluable employability skills, but the main feature is that it was fun.”