Waterford is Ireland’s largest training provider and, as well as hosting the second phase of the Agricultural Apprentices Training Course, offers courses in many other trades including car restoration.
The course came about after demand for the standard body repair course dropped due to a change in car design and the way damaged vehicles were repaired.
However, there are still a fair number of older cars on the road and in private collections that require repairs and restorations, and so it was decided to give it a try, if not the state-of-the-art training facilities technology would probably remain inactive. .
The first course was booked immediately and always attracts great interest from those who repair vehicles for their own satisfaction, or even to find jobs in the restoration trade.
So far it has only focused on cars, but it is recognized that there is a huge crossover with agriculture because there are many older tractors on the farms that are still in good mechanical condition, but would benefit from being put away.
Aging security cabins
It’s not just a matter of aesthetics either, the structural integrity of tractor cabs will deteriorate over time in most agricultural environments and the professional repair of these safety critical items, many of which now have more 40 years old, is essential.
Also, it is reasonable to assume that the average age of working tractors is higher than that of road vehicles, so the demand for repair should certainly exist.
Form and function
Any vehicle repair should put safety first and this is certainly true for cars which were usually designed to break down in a predetermined way when involved in an accident.
Replicating these features in the fabricated body is essential, and participants learn how to design and plan the creation of new body structures and panels so that they function in the same way as the original elements.
Fabrication and forming then follow, with painting and finishing in a state-of-the-art paint booth being the final step in bringing the old bodywork back to life.
Currently engine rebuilding is not covered, however, there are plans to add it to the curriculum or run it as a separate course; however, the college intends to provide it.