Pictured above: Gary King (Honda Australia), John Peterson (Pro Honda Motorcycles), TRACTION Mentors and Participants and staff from Yeronga State High School.
THE AUSTRALIAN Division of leading car, marine, motorcycle and power equipment manufacturer Honda Australia has gone above and beyond to connect with the local community after recently announcing to support not-for-profit program TRACTION.
The support is a great boost for the Brisbane-based TRACTION Small Engines and Motorcycle Program, introduced in February  after the success of the TRACTION Bicycle Build program.
Participants in TRACTION programs work on a range of equipment including donated bicycles and small engines such as donated lawn mowers and motorcycles, with support from mentors and volunteers.
Honda will provide six identical lawnmowers and a number of new motorcycle engines for instructors to teach basic repair and maintenance, a direct account with Honda to the value of $5,000 to source parts, and allow access to technical training information.
The six new Honda lawn mowers and Honda CBR300 motorcycle engines will provide an ongoing learning platform to introduce TRACTION participants to mechanics.
TRACTION founder Sandy Murdoch said excited about the prospect in the future for selected TRACTION participants to gain access to industry-recognised training through Honda’s own exemplary training resources.
“This represents an exceptional opportunity for TRACTION participants to acquire new skills that will position them superbly well for future employment,” Mr Murdoch said.
Honda’s General Manager for the Motorcycle Division Peter Singleton said the company decided to sponsor TRACTION as it fits with their corporate social responsibility focus to support the next generation.
“TRACTION contributes to helping young people understand the diverse community and raises awareness that the community does value young people and that these values are widely held,” Mr Singleton said.
“TRACTION not only exposes the children to diversity, but builds their confidence, helps them discover new talent and understand the structure and value of teamwork and collaboration.”
Mr Singleton said Honda’s contribution will help young people understand how a global, multinational company such as Honda, operates in day to day business.
“Having identical, new products makes instruction easier for the trainers, which therefore improves learning outcomes,” he said.
Mr Singleton first heard of TRACTION through John Peterson, the owner of Pro Motorcycles Moorooka and Kinda Park and a long-term dealer for Honda.
“I was interested in running a program on the school holidays for children who were eager to learn, use tools and work on bikes,” Mr Peterson said.
“After meeting with Sandy, we agreed to set up a new TRACTION Workshop at Pro Honda, in an area I gave him free of charge – we then used recycled steel and timber to build the work stations for the students.
“I have found that a lot of children today are not getting the basic knowledge kids need and are being left behind in the workforce – TRACTION is providing this experience to youth and giving them a taste of working in a workshop environment.
“There are two basic items in every home, bicycles and lawnmowers, and teaching the youth how these units operate will reduce repair costs and will give them skills to become involved in bigger things.”
Mr Peterson allows select students to work beside qualified persons as a reward for attendance.
He also provides expert knowledge, assists in training the participants and works alongside the TRACTION team to attain funding and assistance from organisations.
Mr Peterson does whatever he can to assist TRACTION with moving forward and providing a much needed avenue for youth to obtain experience in the work force.
“If youth have nothing to do or do not have the basic ability to repair items such as a bicycle or small motor bike, then it’s easy for them to get in trouble,” he said.
“TRACTION helps take children off the streets and doing something that will benefit them in the future that is outside school atmosphere.
“At Pro Honda, youth are working in a real business environment – this is not a school but an area where people experience a real working operation.”
Honda is also a major sponsor of the Steve Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation, Lighthouse Foundation and is also the key driver in developing young technicians in the power equipment Industry, which aligns perfectly with TRACTION.
TRACTION is on the hunt for old mowers and/or bikes for the students to repair, as well as volunteers.
Pictured above: Gary King (Honda Australia), John Peterson (Pro Honda Motorcycles) and Sandy Murdoch (TRACTION)