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Let's Celebrate Youth

Let's Celebrate Youth


We were all young once! Whilst we celebrate World Youth Skills Day on 15 July, we look at how age affects passing your driving test.

We were all young once!

Young people tend to think that previous generations were born middle-aged, but we’ve all been young once and we should recognise that the angst and confusion that young people often feel about finding their place in the world and the career that’ll they enjoy and excel at.

World Youth SKills Day 2018 logo

Age can affect lots of things in life, including how easy or difficult you find it to learn to drive and then pass your driving test. But being young isn’t all fun and the United Nations recognised that, across the World, being young isn’t always all it’s meant to be and with a view to reducing youth unemployment across the globe they designated 15 July as World Youth Skills Day.

Before we look at youth there’s one question we thought we’d ask…

Can you teach old dog new tricks?

Do young people really learn more easily? The bad news for the older folk is yes they do and there’s a reason, hidden inside our brains, as to why this is.

Nerve cell activity within the brain is the basis of two fundamental things; learning and memory. These nerve cells communicate with each other by sending signals through what are known as synapses, which are, in essence, the junctions between cells.

Some synapses are silent and when chemical signals are passed between cells, they’re not activated.

In experiments undertaken on rats brain activity it was shown that young brains have more silent synapses which are then used to lay down memories, then becoming an active synapse.


Older brains have fewer silent synapses, probably because they’ve been used up to store memories. Learning something new when you’re older would mean having to re-write over a previously used synapse and that explains why young people’s brains learn more efficiently and older people can remember things from long ago in great detail.

So, sadly it would seem that it IS harder to teach old dog new tricks. Which begs the question, does this affect your ability to….

Passing your driving test

The short answer is ‘Yes’ younger people find it much easier to pass their driving test and that’s probably because of a number of factors, including the science of our brains as explained above.

17 year old passes driving test

Almost 57% of 17 year olds pass their test in 2016 -2017, whilst only 37.3% of 40 year olds passed theirs, a 20 % difference in a 23 year age gap. Yet the difference been passing at 40 to passing at 60 years old is only 2.7%, proving that young people really are the quickest to learn the skills needed behind the wheel.

It’s possible that more intensive courses suit older learners, along with plenty of practice. No matter what age you are, nerves play a part so take a look at 10 Tips to Beat Driving Test Nerves and general Tips for Passing Your Driving Test; passing your driving test gives you independence and freedom at any age, so go for it!

World Youth Skills Day

Swansway Motor Group is a family owned business, so we’re particularly keen on helping young people fulfil their potential, offer via an Apprenticeship. We have around fifty Apprentices across the group and we thought we’d share with you the experience of just one of our Apprentices, Damian Juarak, 19, who works in our Accident Repair Centre.

In June 2018, Damian was named Volkswagen Group UK Apprentice of the Year.

Damian joined Swansway from McDonalds in November, 2015 and this win certainly proves he made the right move; his boss, Accident Repair Centre Manager, Mark Trevers, explained, “I’m so delighted for Damian, he’s a hard working lad who really deserves this award and it’s to his absolute credit that all his hard work has paid off”.

“He put the time and effort in and asked lots of questions, it was clear that he wanted to learn and wanted to be the best he possibly could be and there’s no doubt he achieved that”!

Damian Juark presented with prize by David Smyth

The competition Damian won takes place across the whole Volkswagen UK network, starting with 500 apprentices; they’re then whittled down to twenty-four. Candidates have to sit written exams and undertake practical tests and at the end of it all, Damian was announced as the winner.

Damian explained, "For the final I went down to Babcock in Milton Keynes, did my practical test and finally was announced as the winner! I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at the Accident Repair Centre, but I really want to thank Sean Thomson, he's been my mentor and taught me so much".

Delighted Swansway Group Director, David Smyth added, “This is such a great achievement, not just for Damian, but also for Swansway. It shows that we nurture talented youngsters and give them the support they need to reach their potential; Damian is a brilliant example of this and we’re all extremely proud of him”.

David went on to present Damian with a £500 gift voucher to purchase professional tools. Damian's a great example to young people; if you or anyone you know is interested in an apprenticeship or a change of career then check out Swansway Motor Group.