THE dad of a teenager who failed to gain a place at college to study motor vehicle engineering says too much emphasis is being placed on academic qualifications.

Josh Hall, 16, of Minera, found out he had failed to gain a place at Yale College’s Bersham Road campus about two weeks ago, despite it being his lifelong dream to become a mechanic.

Tutors told him he had been turned down because he did not answer maths questions correctly in a second exam.

But dad Simon has questioned the value of traditional academic subjects on such a vocational course, and says his son already knows a great deal about motor vehicles.

Simon said: “His confidence is low. He’s genuinely gutted by what’s happened because all we’ve ever done, for years, is cars.

“He knows everything about them already.

“You’ve got your politicians making guarantees before the election that all 16-year-olds will have a college place but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

“I’m not saying its the college’s fault because they probably have to follow guidelines set by the Welsh Assembly, but it’s so disappointing.”

In his last year of school at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Josh had visited Yale College every Friday to study different subjects such as engineering, welding, and motor vehicle mechanics.

He took a preliminary exam to study at Bersham Road in March, and was then invited for an interview – where he was told he would have to sit a second exam.

“They said the second exam he did, he didn’t get any maths questions right,” said Simon, a recovery driver.

“But he’s not applying to be a brain surgeon, he’s applying to be a mechanic.

“From my point of view it would have been better to put an engine in front of him and asked him about that.

“I was thinking of phoning round the local garages to do a survey and ask them would they rather employ someone who can do long division or someone who can reset tappets?”

Simon has now helped his son set up his own cycle shop in Pen-y-Bryn called the Bike Shed, which will open in the coming weeks.

“We’ve bought 15 used bikes, and he’s now working them up to top spec, and will then put them on sale,” said Simon.

“We’re going to help him with the paperwork for the first year.

“We’ve put everything in to the opening, we’ve financially backed him, so we hope it works.”

A spokeswoman for Yale College said: “We were disappointed we could not offer Josh a place on his first choice course in this instance.

“Similar to other institutions, minimum entry requirements are designed to ensure students are enrolled onto an appropriate course suitable to their level of study.

“When levels vary, students are always guided to programmes which may then help them to find an alternative route towards their preferred course.”