Second-year Automotive students at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic are getting practical experience that comes with a bonus for the community – their labour is being offered free of charge to local charities. Now in its third year (2016), the initiative between the Acorn Foundation and Polytechnic to provide local charities with a zero labour charge on all vehicle servicing is still going strong. Seven charities have taken up the offer including CanTeen, Tauranga Hearing Association, Classic Flyers, the Stroke Foundation, Avalon (BOP), Homes of Hope and Te Aranui Youth Trust. Working out of the Polytechnic’s MTA-endorsed service centre, Bay Auto, at the Windermere campus, the students carry out regular vehicle servicing under the supervision of qualified teaching staff. Sean Squires, Group Leader Automotive, says the scheme is a win-win situation. “We are able to provide our students with additional practical work experience while giving back to the community at the same time,” he says.