By Margaret Maccoll
Michael Richardson worked as a mining analyst and stockbroker in Melbourne and a lecturer at Deakin University but has now turned his talents and interest in car racing to a project to teach young people with disabilities to build a real 119-150 Lotus Racing Car.
Funded through the Federal Government’s Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) Program the Gold Leaf Team Lotus project is free to participants and gives them a set of skills to assist them into a job and build their confidence.
When Michael whose father built racing cars in the 1950s began working with the Gold Leaf Team Lotus he reconnected with the group’s engineer Dick Sorensen who had taught him to drive racing cars decades before. Michael has run the program previously in Brisbane to build a two-third size vehicle but for the first time this program which will operate from a factory in Rene Street, Noosaville will finish with the creation of a full size Lotus from a kit using super car components which the team aim to race at the next Noosa Hill Climb in six months.
The five month program would run two days a week from about 9am to 2pm, will not be an onerous one and on completion the finished car will be test driven under supervision on a local footy field. Noosa Men’s Shed will kick start the program by providing the students with a completed chassis.
“We’ll start the day with a video and move onto instruction using hand tools,” Michael said.
He said the pleasure and satisfaction former participants derived from building a vehicle was “quite rewarding”. “They learn a set of skills that make them more employable and it does wonders for self esteem,” he said.
Applicants need to be up to 21 years and not enrolled at high school or up to 25 years and registered with Centrelink. To apply phone Michael Richardson on 0413 155 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org