Cool School – Students build a drag car

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Forget about making barbeque utensils or letterboxes in Industrial Arts classes at school, Miller High School built a drag car!


Sydneys Miller High School have developed ingenious trade program for students dubbed the “Auto Shed” to help develop and train students in industry trades while still at school.


The Auto Shed main project was to build a drag car for competition.


Students from Miller Technology High School have been building a car they plan to race at the Sydney Dragway. As part of the Partnership Brokers program to help students enrich their educational outcomes and achieve their full potential, an industrial technology automotive program has established an “Auto Shed” with equipment from spray painting, welding, panel beating, engine refurbishment, and for working on small engines. Through the process of rebuilding a 1980 WB Holden, students have significantly increased school engagement and the development of their automotive skills.

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Since 2010 over 100 students have taken part in various industry activities including workplace visits which complemented their classroom learning and have given them an insight into the partners’ workplace practices and culture. They have also gained work experience with these businesses and many have commenced apprenticeships.


Several schools across Australia have set up their own version of the “Auto Shed” based on the information shared by Miller Technology High School as part of the “Auto Shed Consultation Network Australia”. This has the possibility of making a positive impact on thousands of disengaged and at risk students across Australia.

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The Partnership Broker at South West Connect was instrumental in bringing the current partners together for this project and is actively seeking additional support to enhance what is currently being undertaken. Current partners include Yamaha Motors Australia, MTC Youth Connections, Sultan’s Automotive Repairs, Burson Auto Parts, V & E Rigoli Racing and Liverpool Exhaust, Wild FX Graphic Designs, Gear Exchange Services, VPW Australia and EMS Computers.

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One of the most pressing challenges in the Miller area is to engage students from lower socio economic and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Miller Technology High is a co-educational high school in the south-west of Sydney in the centre of a diverse and culturally rich community. The school serves a low socio-economic community with 78% of students from CALD backgrounds.

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“The Auto Shed” partnership has been established to increase student engagement and thus Year 12 attainment, provide quality “real life” learning experiences, develop specific industry skills and networks that will aid the transition of students from school and develop teamwork and communication skills.

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Benefits gained by students participating in the Auto Shed partnership include Increased student attendance, commitment and engagement across all subject areas. Improved awareness of career planning. Development of real life industry skills. Increase in self esteem and confidence. Develop teamwork and communication skills. Develop precious industry networks that will aid their transition from school. Parents have become involved by lending expertise to the project – an unexpected benefit.

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“The Auto Shed project at our school has made a positive and significant difference to all the students involved. The partnership has given the students an opportunity to expand their learning beyond the classroom through their direct interaction with our partners. The outcomes of this project and the associated partnership include: strong development of industry skills; improved student attendance and engagement and an increase in student confidence.” Mr Bruce Axam – Principal, Miller Technology High School

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“We really like being involved in “The Shed” and believe that this partnership is laying a great foundation for students to step into a future in the Automotive Industry. George Sultan – Sultan’s Automotive Repairs.

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The car was unveiled and prepared to make its first passes at Sydney Dragway on Wednesday recieving national new coverage from the ABC.

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Miller High School Industrial Arts head teacher Jeff Goodwin who is no stranger to the Sydney quarter mile took the car for its first laps in front of the anticipating students and the Sydney Dragway Race for Real crowd.

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There were a few teething problems for the one tonner as is with most new cars but the crew will take it back with plans to address the gremlins, but overall it was a very succesful debut attracting a lot of positive attraction to the program

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Drag News Australia will bring you much more on the build and the project in the future.




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