GASP Motor Project

July 4, 2024| Current Issue, Editorial

A dynamic, forward-thinking education charity based near Guildford.

From its origins in 2005 providing evening activities for local youngsters who had been engaging in anti-social behaviour including car theft and joyriding, GASP quickly expanded to deliver daytime sessions in motor mechanics, registering as a charity in 2009.

This year GASP support over 500 youngsters across Surrey, including at several local schools such as Guildford County, Kings College and George Abbot. The charity runs 35 courses a week and two evening youth clubs, at its main workshop near Albury and via three fully-equipped mobile vans. Demand for GASP’s services is unprecedented.

Children referred to the charity have often been out of mainstream education for several years. They may be permanently excluded, school refusers, or involved in criminal activities.

GASP provides a safe learning space where progress is made at each individual’s pace. With a maximum group of six youngsters with two GASP tutors, learning is personalised, tutors being positive role models. Its fantastic workshop has all the professional equipment of a commercial garage including a car lift, industrial compressor, engine hoists and bench press.

All activities are linked to AQA unit awards; students earn certificates for skills accomplished, creating portfolios to demonstrate their commitment and achievements to schools, parents, peers and future employers.

Activities are ‘hands-on’, involving teamwork, problem solving and communication – building positive wellbeing and self-confidence. Students learn about two and four wheeled vehicles and two and four stroke engines. They examine quad and pit bikes, learning about engine capacity, gears and braking systems. They gain practical skills including how to change a wheel and basic car maintenance.

GASP’s courses help youngsters who do not fit the traditional model of education, enhancing their sense of self-worth. Every participant can make a new start, and see themselves in a different light, as ‘achievers with huge potential’ rather than feeling discarded and demotivated. Many start to make positive life choices.

With increasing demand for GASP courses, experienced motor mechanics and engineers are needed to join the team. Teaching experience is not necessary. For further information please email: