Bridgnorth News


Prospective engineers are being encouraged to hone their craft at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) when it officially launches its Heritage Skills Training Academy (HSTA) in September.

During the four year course, apprentices work towards a Level 3 NVQ in Engineering. For the first two years, students spend three days a week studying at Telford College and spend two days at the SVR, learning and experiencing all aspects of its operation, for which they are paid. At the end of the two years, the students will gain a recognised Level 2 NVQ in Engineering.

In the third and fourth year of the apprenticeship, typically one day a week is spent at college while the other four days are spent in the SVR’s workshops.

Throughout the course, all college fees and daily transport expenses from key points along the SVR are covered for trainees.

Trainee James Lewis, aged 18, started his apprenticeship in September 2013 moving from his home town of Swindon – home of the Museum of the Great Western Railway (GWR) – to Kidderminster.

He said the best thing about the apprenticeship is being able to indulge his hobby every day.

James said: “I have been interested in steam railways for a long, long time. I saw an advert for the apprenticeship on the internet and thought it was perfect.

“It’s fantastic to be working with steam locomotives and the Severn Valley Railway. Work is my hobby. It’s great to see my contribution to the engine and carriage restoration projects.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in engineering to come and see what it’s all about.”

“It’s a passion. It never fails to capture you. Even if you don’t think you’d be interested, you’d be surprised.”

Fellow trainee Max Green, aged 17, said: “It’s great because there’s so much variety to the scheme. Every day is different; you’re never doing the same job.”

The academy is one of three key projects funded by the railway’s share offer and the fundraising efforts of the SVR Charitable Trust, alongside the restoration of locomotive No. 4930 ‘Hagley Hall’. The Share Offer raised over £2 million in just 12 months.

Prospective trainees (aged 16 or over) and their families can find out more about the HSTA during an Open Day at the Railway on Saturday, 22nd February.

The Open Day will give further details of the programme and give visitors the opportunity to experience the working environment and ask questions.

For more information about the HSTA, or to register for the Open Day, please contact Richard Thurlow, the HSTA Co-ordinator, via email at or call 07792 241325.

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