Sittingbourne Invicta Rotary Clubs’ Caterham Car Schools Project is a big hit

Kent Business TV recently visited the Swale Skills Centre to report on the Sittingbourne Invicta Rotary Club’s Caterham Car Project. Its proving to be a massive success so far. Click above to watch our film which has been sponsored by Wire Belt Limited.

Dudley Cramp, member of the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta and local Solicitor, has been a long-term fan and owner of a Caterham 7.

Last year, through the Lotus Seven Club (the Caterham Owners Club) he discovered that the company, who have always offered their cars in a kit form version, had developed a build project programme specifically for students. He realised that this idea had the potential to be an ambitious, exciting, practical and educational project for Sittingbourne Invicta to bring to the Sittingbourne community.

This ‘first’ for any Rotary Club in the UK was also to be unique in that the Club set out to involve three participating partners. Sittingbourne Invicta who is funding the enterprise, will now be working with Sittingbourne Community College, Westlands School and the charity, Catch22 to bring this 32-week build project of the car, to completion. The actual build programme will take place at and under the professional guidance of the Swale Skills Centre, a part of Sittingbourne Community College. Caterham too, will make their expertise and advice available if required.

Each school elected five pupils and Catch22 – the charity supporting local young children with tough lives and whom face difficult situations – put forward two participants. This group of twelve students, whose broader education and potential will benefit from this practical experience, were mixed up into two teams. Each team have attended a ‘club afternoon’ at the Skills Centre once a week during the 32-week build period, working to a project plan developed by the Skills Centre in consultation with Sittingbourne Invicta, the schools and Catch22.

The Caterham 7 was delivered in component form from the factory at Dartford to the Skills Centre on September 20th, 2011. The students, their parents and the participating partnership had their first sight of the real task ahead. In just thirty-two school weeks the twelve ‘engineers’ will unveil a fully working Caterham 7. The car will then be returned to the Caterham factory for its final checks and tests before being sold to an eventual customer.

The aims of the Project are to bring much more than just practical experience to these budding ‘engineers’. As in the ‘outside world’, they will be asked to sign a ’work contract’ in the form of an undertaking of commitment to the project. The structure of the teams and the tasks will provide the opportunity to develop their team working skills. Their communication skills will also be tested as, they will be asked to make at least two presentations to the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta: to report on their progress during the build and to reflect on the experiences they have gained.

Furthermore, the schools and Catch22 will be using this opportunity to create special projects for their Arts and Media Studies faculties to give those students the experience of recording and reporting on all aspects of the enterprise as it progresses. At the end they will then be in a position to be able to produce a unique overall record of the construction of the Caterham 7 by their fellow engineering students.

It is the ambition of the Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta that the entire enterprise will broaden all the participants skills and experience for the future; to gain a flavour of ‘working environments’; to add to their CV credentials; to enhance their potential as far as further education and future employers are concerned and, most importantly, have been fun to have been part of.

Dudley Cramp says “This exciting scheme promotes the main community support objectives of our Rotary Club. For the young people involved it provides a year long project which will give them science engineering and team building skills which they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”

For any further information or, to contact any of the ‘partnership’, please contact Dudley Cramp on t: 01795 420024 or email

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