Shropshire Star

Severn Valley Railway scheme to train rail apprentices

Prospective engineers are being encouraged to hone their craft at the Severn Valley Railway when it officially launches its Heritage Skills Training Academy later this year.

James Lewis and Max Green enjoy their work as apprentices at the railway

The academy opens in September and rail bosses are holding an open day this month for those interested in joining the trainee scheme.

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 of Arts and Technology and two days doing paid work at the railway, learning about all aspects of its operation.

In the third and fourth year, 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 will be covered for trainees.

Trainee James Lewis, 18, started his apprenticeship in September, moving from his home town of Swindon to Kidderminster.

He 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."

He added: "I would encourage anyone with an interest in engineering to come and see what it's all about."

Fellow trainee Max Green, 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 more than £2 million in just 12 months. Prospective trainees, aged 16 or over, are being invited to find out more during an open day being held at the railway on February 22. To register, email or call 07792 241325.

Meanwhile, a race day in aid of the Severn Valley Railway will be held at Ludlow Racecourse on April 17.

Co-organiser Christopher Morley said it would provide much-needed funds.

Tickets cost £70 and include a Champagne reception and a three-course lunch with wine. There will be a promises auction. For tickets contact Shelagh Paterson on (01299) 406502 or 07812 570942.

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