SEVERN Valley Railway’s eagerly awaited heritage skills training academy is launched this month with three enthusiastic trainees.
The exciting new initiative aims to train young people in engineering and in the time-honoured methods of 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. Severn Valley Railway has appointed Richard Thurlow, who has many years of experience of working with apprentices, as heritage skills training academy officer.
The three trainees are James Lewis from Swindon, Max Green, who lives in Dormston, Worcestershire, and Bridgnorth resident Billy Furness.
Mark Drinkwater, who is already with the SVR, will be finishing his apprenticeship under the umbrella of the academy.
Sixteen-year-old Max Green 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.”
The former Droitwich Spa High School pupil added: “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.”
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