Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums get more apprenticeships cash

APPRENTICES are being recruited to ensure that the skills which once underpinned working life in the North East do not disappear.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) has been awarded £498,600 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for a second batch of 24 apprentices for its Skills for the Future programme.

The original programme started a year ago and has two years to run, involving the placement of eight apprentices annually.

Among the recruits is 24-year-old Becky Johnson, who lives in Newcastle and has a degree in fine art from Northumbria University.

She took up woodcraft working and enrolled at Newcastle College for a diploma in carpentry and joinery.

Becky’s apprenticeship is with Stanegate Restorations and Replicas Ltd, based at Haltwhistle in Northumberland.

Stanegate’s recent projects have included the re-building of two waggons for the Bowes Railway, the restoration of two horsedrawn vehicles for Beamish Museum and work on a 1909 lifeboat.

TWAM has been working with the North of England Civic Trust on the training programme.

The first trainees have already completed their training, learning engineering skills which can be used to maintain industrial exhibits in museums across the region.

Bill Griffiths, senior manager at TWAM, said: “We have already seen the first intake of trainees graduate from their courses, fully equipped with knowledge and skills which will help to protect the North East’s industrial heritage.

“This new funding allows us to expand the scheme, helping to keep these valuable engineering skills alive.” Of the apprentices who took part in the first year, 70% have found jobs in the sector.

Bill said: “We could have these heritage exhibits on static display but if they are kept working people get a much better experience of the past.”

He said that the sector had been well served by retired individuals who volunteered the skills they had learned in their working lives.

But this pool of skills was diminishing as time passes.

“We are now training the people who will be help to provide these skills for the next 30 to 40 years,” said Bill.

The 2012 apprentices include Ben Riley, from Stanhope, who has been a volunteer at the Weardale Railway since the age of 14.

Also joining Weardale Railway is Luke Blackett from Wearhead.

Michael Arnott, from Gateshead who has worked in shop fitting will be joining the North East Maritime Trust at South Shields.

Ryan Cramb from Consett is going to the Tanfield Railway, in Gateshead, Lee Campbell of Washington to Vintage Vehicles of Shildon and Steve Foxton from Spennymoor will join Locomotion at Shildon.

Beamish Museum is taking Daniel Christie, from Throckley in Newcastle and Jordan English, of Cleadon in South Tyneside.

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Paul Champion

📱: 07540 704920

Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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