As cycle maintenance courses go, City & Guilds Level 2 is the ‘Daddy’: It’s the industry standard qualification for professional mechanics, and it’s perfect for the dedicated home mechanic who wants to be able to fully strip down and rebuild a bicycle.
With just over a month to go until the course kicks off, we caught up with City & Guilds Level 2 graduate Joey, to find out about her experience:
“I got into bike maintenance after I bought a second-hand bike that I was told was ‘fully refurbished’. After getting it home and taking it for a proper spin, it turned out that this wasn’t true – so I decided to take the maintenance into my own hands.
I loved the process of fixing my own bike – I wanted to learn more and take greater ownership of my bike’s upkeep. After taking a beginner’s course and spending some time volunteering for Bristol Bike Project I had been bitten by the bug and was ready for the next step:
“I wanted to start a career in the cycle industry and Life Cycle’s Level 2 City & Guilds course seemed like the perfect way to kick off that journey”.
I admit I was a little apprehensive before coming on the course: Sometimes the cycle industry can seem a bit macho and ‘show-offy’ and I think that as a woman you can sometimes feel pressure – especially in group learning situations.
Thankfully, my worries were dispelled within the first 10 minutes: The class size was small (the maximum is 6 people) and I was not the only woman on the course. But really it was the tutor who put me most at ease: He created a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. His style was very inclusive and he made it clear that asking questions was encouraged, and no question was stupid.
Aside from that, the facilities are fantastic: Everyone has use of their own, fully-stocked tool board and a proper work stand. The bikes you get to work on are great too”.
So what are the classes like?
“The course is 10 days in total and it runs two days per week over five consecutive weeks. You cover a lot but everything is approached from the standpoint of ‘nothing is a mystery and anyone can learn it’. The teaching approach is very logical and systematic so you feel you are gradually building more and more knowledge on a strong foundation.
Before coming on the course, bottom brackets and headsets were intimidating to me. But Rich showed us diagrams of an exploded view – and then we were shown how to physically deal with them, given plenty of time to practice and then we had our work checked. There was plenty of one-to-one time with the tutor if we needed it, and for me, having everything checked and making sure you had got the hang of the textbook way of doing things was a massive confidence boost”.
Who was on the course with you?
There was another woman who wanted to work as a mechanic, like me. A guy who was already working as a cycle mechanic but wanted to upskill and gain a qualification; A retired gentleman who had cycling holidays planned with his wife and wanted to be able to fix their bikes; and a younger guy who was just starting his career and wanted to work in the cycle industry. It was a nice mix of experience and backgrounds.
So what has it helped you to achieve?
Not only did I feel so much more confident after completing my City & Guilds Level 2, the experience I gained on the course and qualification really opened doors for me. At the time I was unhappy with my career: Getting my Level 2 allowed me to leave my job and start work as a cycle mechanic. I’m absolutely loving my new career and I’m so glad I took the plunge and did the course!
What would you say to people considering booking onto the City & Guilds Level 2?
Do it! The course is empowering; fascinating and fun! No matter what you’re planning to do next, you will take so much away from the course. And a City & Guilds qualification is not to be sniffed at!
Life Cycle has been running cycle mechanics courses for over 12 years and we became a City & Guilds accredited training centre in 2016. We have four City & Guilds Level 2 courses coming up in 2019 – in March, June, September and November. Spaces are filling up fast on our March course!