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Traditional skills preserved at new heritage training academy
6:00am Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
SEVERN Valley Railway’s heritage skills training academy is set to be launched with three enthusiastic trainees.
The new initiative aims to train young people in engineering and in repairing and maintaining the popular Midlands line’s fleet of locomotives and carriages.
Funded by a successful share offer, which has raised £1.68 million in less than 12 months, and the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust, the scheme incorporates three days per week at Telford College to develop basic engineering skills such as machining, welding and painting.
After the trio successfully complete the two year traineeship, they will be offered a two or three year apprenticeship with half the time devoted to working alongside skilled staff and volunteers and the remaining hours spent at college.
The three trainees are James Lewis from Swindon, Max Green, who lives in Dormston, Worcestershire, and Bridgnorth resident Billy Furness.
Sixteen-year-old Max said: “I’ve always dreamed of pursuing a career in heritage engineering but didn’t think I’d get the chance to join a dedicated scheme like this one.
“My family are delighted for me too as they know I’ve been passionate about steam railways and traction engines since I was a young boy.”
“As part of the interview process, we had to put together a carriage lock from a diagram to demonstrate that we could follow instructions. I’m now looking forward to getting started on the real thing.”
Shelagh Paterson, campaign manager for the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust, added: “Due to the generosity of trusts, companies and individuals, we are delighted to be able to financially support the academy.
“With an ageing workforce, there is an urgent need to develop a new apprenticeship and training scheme for young people. This will imbue in them the traditional methods of working and train them in the essential skills of locomotive fitting, boiler making, carriage joinery, maintenance and restoration as well as the restoration of heritage buildings.
“The charitable trust is continuing to seek funding from individuals and local business to ensure the SVR remains one of the UK’s leading heritage railways and a memorable day out for more than 200,000 visitors every year.”
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