WE’RE KEEN TO FILL THE ENGINEERING SKILLS GAP
In response to Chris Proudfoot and others discussing engineering workshop capacity (SR487), at the Vale of Berkeley Railway we are keen to play our part in increasing the number of places where high‑quality heritage railway engineering skills and training can prosper into the future.
At our engineering centre at Sharpness we are fortunate in having a number of local volunteers who have worked for Rolls‑Royce and Airbus in Bristol who have a lot of highly advanced engineering skills to offer. Indeed, the NRM’s ‘4F’ No. 44027 and an ‘Austerity’ are both making good progress there.
Down the road at Berkeley Green is one of the new University Technical Colleges, where modern engineering is taught to school pupils from the age of 14. We have held a number of extremely positive discussions with the college and, as we develop, we hope to create a strong partnership with them. In fact, we are about to take on our first apprentice, just two years after we started on the site.
In addition to the usual machine shop equipment, we have a very large radial drill and a lathe that can turn 40in diameter wheels. At the moment neither of these tools are being used, so we would love to hear from any other railways or heritage centres who have jobs for them!
We envisage becoming a specialist centre for certain jobs, but in the meantime we would welcome discussions about the way in which we can most usefully contribute to the wider debate about skills development.
Please get in touch!
Howard Parker, chairman, Vale of Berkeley Railway