Former Cycles apprentice opens his own bike repair shop in Derby

Life at Activate Apprenticeships


Zach McLaughlin, who completed his Bicycle Mechanic Level 3 Apprenticeship with Activate Apprenticeships in 2019, recalls his time at college with enthusiasm.

Zach particularly cherished the opportunity to connect with fellow cycling enthusiasts who shared his passion.

He said: “It was really good to meet like-minded people who enjoy the mechanics of bikes as much as myself. The apprenticeship also helped me find better ways of working to enhance my knowledge.”


Life after college


When Zach finished his apprenticeship, he decided to open his own business and is now the proud owner of his own cycle repair shop in Derby, 2Wheelies Limited.

Zach acknowledged the challenges of managing a business independently, including long working hours, but he also finds it immensely rewarding to run his own repair shop successfully.

Reflecting back on his time as an apprentice, he said: “It gave me the confidence and knowledge to progress further. I enjoyed learning from others in my class and even helping some other mechanics grasp new skills.”

Zach shared what drove him to open his own business: “I have always been a keen cyclist, but I noticed the lack of bike workshops in my area and thought the city needed one.”



Proudest achievement


Zach’s proudest achievement is starting his own business, particularly after facing some obstacles on his path to success.

Despite suffering a serious cycling accident in his teens and having to undergo rehabilitation for physical and brain injuries, Zach overcame these challenges and was able to fulfil his dream of opening his own repair shop, demonstrating extraordinary resilience and determination.


Advice to college leavers


Reflecting on his journey, Zach offered simple yet powerful advice to college leavers: “Just stick at it and progression will follow.”

This encouragement to current students and apprentices emphasises the importance of perseverance and dedication in pursuing their passion and career goals.

Adam Harries, Zach’s former teacher and Head of Delivery at Activate Cycle Academy, adds: “I remember him saying in his enrolment that he loved fixing bikes and that a career in this would be a dream come true for him, and now he’s certainly achieved that. Well done, Zach!”

Zach’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and apprenticeships, showcasing the potential for individuals to overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams with the right support and opportunities.