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Cardiff motocross track helps young people achieve their potential

For some of Cardiff's young people, the traditional school environment just doesn't work - but motorbikes, engines, and the vocational education and training on offer at Foreshore MXC can be life-changing.

"It's definitely kept me out of trouble," said Jae. "I've been mixed up in all sorts of things growing up in the area I live in, so where I am today, I'm proud of myself really."

In 2013, Jae (24), who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), was referred by his school to the vocational education programme at the Cardiff Council track in Rover Way.

"You could see straight away that he enjoyed being at the track," said Mark Thomas, who leads the council's vocational education team, "so we worked with his school to develop a programme that balanced his academic responsibilities with time at the track riding and learning practical mechanic skills, and just tried to give him a support system, boost his confidence, and it all paid off."

Jae's attendance and participation at school improved and as his confidence grew, the team gave him practical work experience, servicing motorbikes as well as opportunities to develop his leadership skills. Those skills eventually led to him supporting and mentoring his peers and now, just over ten years later he is employed at the track, helping the next generation.

"Everything I learned as a kid is all coming into play, and I'm using it every day and trying to teach these kids what I was taught, so I get them on the right path and give them opportunities in life."

Council cabinet member Jennifer Burke, said: "Jae's story is really inspiring and he's just one of the many young people who have benefited from the unique, hands-on educational programme at the motocross facility, with many gaining valuable qualifications and employment as a result.

"Now, with an expanded range of programmes for teenagers and younger children, covering animal care, music and video technology, outdoor adventure activities and play work to name a few, the team are able to help unlock the potential of even more young people from Cardiff and beyond."

The vocational education team runs a range of different programmes at facilities in Cardiff, including Cardiff International White Water, Cardiff Riding School and Splott Play, as well as the Foreshore MXC track.

Photo: Jae (left) with Mark Thomas of the vocational education team

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