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?

"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)

"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