Automotive industry shows incredible generosity after college fire - Bridgwater & Taunton College

After a fire damaged Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC)’s specialist Motorsport and Motorcycle workshops back in February 2021, the College has been overwhelmed by the automotive industry’s response.

Within hours of the fire making headline news, BTC had received hundreds of messages of support, including offers of free tools, learning resources and work experience opportunities for the students who would be inevitably affected.

Autotech Academy collaborated with the Foray Motor Group, to provide three weeks of work experience to six students. The students were regularly rotated to work within the workshop, the parts department and service desk, providing them with a fully comprehensive experience. Student Thomas Leworthy commented,

I had an amazing three weeks at Taunton Ford, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been incredibly valuable to me, particularly as we got to see how the different departments operated with each other, from when the customer’s car came in, to seeing how it was processed. I’ve gained so much understanding about how a main dealer is run and operated, it’s been a real eye opener. I’m actually disappointed to leave as I felt like I was becoming a part of the team.

TMD Friction UK Ltd drove over 200 miles to donate a significant delivery of learning resources and tools. Valeo sent car equipment resources for the students to work on. Whilst Honda UK donated a brand new prototype Honda Civic type-R – a rare treat for students who without substantial investment would not normally have the opportunity to work on a vehicle of this type and age.

Vinnie Maisey, Curriculum Manager of Automotive at BTC said,

The fire at the Bridgwater campus affected two automotive workshops and threatened to hinder the progress of our dedicated students. The College appreciates the support shown to us by the automotive sector since the incident, and look forward to continuing to work closely with our incredible employer partners.

Fortunately, the College has alternative workshops at its Bridgwater and Taunton campuses, and has done its best to mitigate the impact on automotive students despite the significant loss of state-of-the-art workspace, vehicles and tools. Applications remain open for September 2021. For more information and to apply, visit

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