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 channelled back into restoration projects. For example, one of our apprentices was involved in servicing two batches of locks for the Kent and East Sussex Railway.

It costs £17,000 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?

"At 16, I am the SVR's youngest apprentice. Everyone I’ve met here is really nice and they have a laugh together. My first six months will be in the fitter machine shop in the Bridgnorth locomotive works. It's quite dirty and noisy, but to be honest that suits me fine."

Jacob Cox (pictured on the left)

"Steam locos differ from most machinery. When you put a fire in them, they become alive. They’ve all got their odd quirks and can do totally different things, sometimes unexpected things. It’s about getting to know an engine inside and out, and being able to predict what it will do, or should do. It becomes part of your lifestyle once you get involved with steam, and pretty much everything you do revolves around it as well"

Barney Hill (pictured on the right)

"As an apprentice, I’ve had experience in many different areas of the railway; here in the paint shop, in carriage & wagon mechanical, the boiler shop and the motive power department. I even had the chance to spend some time learning about track maintenance in the permanent way department. It gives me a good sense of the ‘big picture’ at the railway, and means I don’t get into the mind-set of thinking my little bit of railway is everything. I appreciate all the things that everyone else is doing."

George Brogan