Students find work experience at Festival of Power

Santa Pod's David Warren helps a student into the cockpit
Santa Pod's David Warren helps a student into the cockpit

A pioneering initiative designed to benefit members of Bedford College’s special-needs community has been launched with Santa Pod Raceway.

The two-part pilot scheme will see the raceway, between Odell and Podington, provide workplace experience to selected students among the community.

The scheme began in February when Santa Pod displayed a Top Fuel Dragster on the college campus and enabled students to view the most powerful type of racing machine in world motorsport.

The second part of the scheme takes place over Easter when students attend Santa Pod’s Festival Of Power, shadowing members of the Santa Pod staff to learn the work involved in conducting a large-scale public event.

Santa Pod’s commercial manager, Caroline Holden, said: “Despite our Northamptonshire postcode, Santa Pod is a Bedfordshire business, and we’re always keen to pursue initiatives that will benefit our home county. We were delighted when Bedford College contacted us to explore the possibilities of such a programme and we hope that, as it develops, it will provide significant value to the college and its special-needs community. It’s a rare opportunity for the students, for sure, but we think it might also offer a valuable experience to our staff members, giving them a fresh insight into the work they do.”

“If this pilot scheme works as well as we anticipate I expect there will be further practical links we might develop with Bedford College, and we look forward to building the connection.”

The initiative was the brainchild of Bedford College’s supported employment co-ordinator, Gareth Scorer, who said: “When I approached Santa Pod with an ambitious idea that combined a visit from Santa Pod and a final work experience project for several students to have an opportunity to work at the Festival Of Power, I never imagined just how successful the visit to college would be; how fascinated all the students were and just how much support has been shown by Santa Pod in making this ambitious project come alive.

“The students selected to work at the Festival Of Power are extremely excited and feel very privileged to be given this opportunity. I anticipate developing a range of projects that will enhance what Santa Pod already offers and support our students to gain valuable work skills.”

The Festival Of Power takes place at Santa Pod Raceway from Friday, April 14 to Sunday, April 16.