Preserving our heritage for
future generations

Preserving the Railway for future generations with the Heritage Skills Training Academy

The Academy is a well-established part of the Railway's operation, and currently receives the majority of its funding from the SVR Charitable Trust.

Within the Academy scheme, six young people work and learn across the different departments; locomotive running, boiler shop, carriage mechanical and carriage bodywork.

Initially, apprentices rotate around these departments to gain experience and knowledge across a range of trades. After two years, they're assigned to one of the departments to pursue a specialisation.

As well as intensive on-the-job training, apprentices work towards nationally-recognised NVQ 2 and 3 level qualifications.

As the apprentices gain experience, the Railway is able to use their skills to take on outside contract work for other heritage organisations. This brings in additional income to the Railway, all of which can be channeled back into restoration projects. For example, apprentice Emma Harrison was involved in servicing two batches of locks for the Kent and East Sussex Railway.

It costs £21,000 to fund an apprentice for one year, and the Railway relies on the generosity of the Charitable Trust's supporters to fund this essential aspect of its operation.

Could you help to develop and support the SVR's future heritage engineers?

"As apprentices, we rotate round the different departments every few months. Right now I'm in the paint shop working on both metal and wood parts. Soon I'm hoping to improve my carpentry skills when I work in the upholstery section. I love that there is always something new to do and learn."

Emma Harrison

"After volunteering for the SVR for seven years I've turned my hobby into a career. I chose the apprenticeship here because I have a large passion for railways and the SVR in particular. I love coming to work, in fact it hardly feels like a job."

Alan Brookes