Learner Profile - Paul Curran

learner Paul Curran standing in front of a car which has the number 56 against it.

Motor Vehicle, Bicycles & Welding

18 September 2019

Practical classic car care

'I was getting more and more into working on classic cars. I had owned an MG and was given an old VW Beetle which needed a lot of work. I had also bought a VW Camper. I was okay at basic DIY mechanics but clueless with welding and body work. So, I signed up for the beginners welding course a few years back at the Macbeth Centre (it was over the road from where I work as a teacher in Hammersmith) and that was it...I was hooked! Four motor engineering courses later I’m still here. It feels like my second home and second family.

The best bit is the welcome from the tutors, their knowledge, support, friendship and kindness. I also treasure the friendships and wider support network that has developed across the courses - all levels, backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, ages, both male and female. It’s great having so many females on the courses. They seem to bring a completely different dimension to the classes which have traditionally seemed to be male-dominated. This has been invaluable.

I now have the confidence to have a go myself and get stuck in. I service and maintain my VW camper myself and do all the welding and body work. My wife and I plus our family (two small children aged six and three at the time) spent a month on the road travelling from London to Sweden, and back, for a family wedding. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to take that on in a 44-year-old campervan if it hadn’t been for my experience gained at the Macbeth Centre.

Teaching in a primary school, although amazing, is challenging in all sorts of ways. It can be very intense and stressful. Having an outlet where you can spend time for yourself is extremely important. It can be hard juggling this while trying to raise and support a young family too, but it can be done and cannot be underestimated in terms of mental health and well-being. I think it’s made me a better husband, father and teacher.

Motor engineering is a hobby for me...I love it. But I hope to be able to combine my teaching skills with what I have learnt on the courses here. Who knows, perhaps student could become teacher. Hang on a minute...it’s all gone a bit Kung Fu Panda!'

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