Boiler & Engineering Skills Training Trust

BESTT is a partnership of steam heritage organisations representing railways, ships and traction engines and has developed a range of training courses on boiler repair, maintenance and the mechanical overhaul of steam engines.

In addition to short courses, the BESTT one year Mechanical Repair traineeship course, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund gives young people a 12 month intensive training in heritage engineering including paid placements at relevant employers and learning modules at Keighley and York colleges.

Info for apprentices and learners:

Steam heritage is one of Britain's glories and working steam locomotive boilers are a key part of the very successful and important heritage tourism industry. There are over 200 heritage centres in the UK and around 6,000 working or restorable boilers on railway locomotives, traction engines and road vehicles, ships and stationary engines.

As a result of the ageing of the many volunteers who maintain and repair these working objects, there are increasingly good employment prospects in this sector.

The B.E.S.T.T. traineeship programme, supported by The Heritage Lottery fund gives young people a 12-month paid experience working in the industry including on-the-job training placements and college modules.

The results over the first two years of the traineeship scheme have been a great success, with over two-thirds of trainees finding full-time employment in the heritage engineering sector.

Info for employers:

We work with a number of employers on both the development and delivery of relevant short courses, and with trainee placements.

Although we do not yet offer full apprenticeships, we can help in a wide variety of your training needs.

Courses:

Mechanical Repair Traineeship

Location:

Various locations.

Duration:

Course type:

12 months.

Traineeship.

The BESTT one year Mechanical Repair traineeship course, funded by the National
Lottery Heritage Fund gives young people a 12 month intensive training in heritage engineering including paid placements at relevant employers and learning modules at Keighley and York colleges.

Riveting short course

Location:

Various locations.

Duration:

Course type:

4 days.

Short Course.

Riveting is a core skill in steam boiler repair. There is a shortage of skilled riveters and an increasing requirement for locomotive and repair workshops to be able to demonstrate that they have people with the right skills.

The Riveter Qualification Course, based on the BESTT syllabus and Heritage Railway Association Boiler Code of Practice covers types of rivet, rivet holes, rivet heads, length calculation, heating rivets, hydraulic riveting, safety, use of pneumatic tools and other aspects.

Boiler Washout & Examination short course

Location:

Various locations.

Duration:

Course type:

4 days.

Short Course.

This course is suitable for novices and candidates with no previous practical washout and inspection experience. Topics covered includes removal of plugs and doors, inspection and boxing up, including practical tests.

All techniques are cross referenced to BESTT module RHG1 and BCoP guidance note HGR-B9155.

Sample employers:

  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway

    Today the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust is a not-for profit charitable organisation run as part of the local community. Day to day operation is carried out by volunteers with railway operations and business experience. A core team of paid staff together with approximately 100 full time staff and 50 seasonal staff, plan and operate the train service and work steadily to improve the quality of the infrastructure, the railway vehicles and experience to our visitors travelling on the railway.

Sample apprentices / learners:

    Apprentice Awards:

      Supported by:

      • Heritage Lottery Fund

        Heritage Lottery Fund

        Inspiring, leading and resourcing the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

        The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest dedicated grant funder of the UK’s heritage. Since 1994, we’ve awarded over £8bn to more than 44,000 projects across the UK.

      • Heritage Rail Charitable Trust

        Heritage Rail Charitable Trust

        The HRCT has been formed as an organisation to raise funds to assist, in preserving for the public benefit, railway and tramway heritage, by supporting and promoting museums and other bodies concerned with rail transport. HRCT will fulfil a wide remit: to raise funds to promote initiatives like BESTT, apprentice training, museums and educational activities; the recruitment of young people; how to share expertise with HRA members on tax-efficiency, GDPR requirements, and a host of other useful skills. HRCT will nurture the Friends of HRA, to expand their numbers and experience-base.

      • Great Central Railway
      • Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
      • Kent and East Sussex Railway
      • North Norfolk Railway
      • Severn Valley Railway
      • The Maritime Heritage Trust
      • The Prince's Trust
      • The Steamboat Association of Great Britain
      • West Somerset Railway

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