WE’RE KEEN TO FILL THE EN­GI­NEER­ING SKILLS GAP

Steam Railway (UK) - - MAILBAG -

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

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