Williton Somerset - It's full steam ahead for four youngsters celebrated completing their apprenticeships with the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA).
Brothers Ryan and Liam Pope, colleagues Duncan Hensley and Philip Berry-Roper, have been working with the heritage charity's team at West Somerset Restoration in Williton.
The four who graduated in December have been working in West Somerset Restoration's workshops helping to refurbish and preserve the WSRA's engines and the livery and interiors of its rolling stock.
Ryan has focused on fabrication welding, Liam bench joinery, Philip bench fitting, and Duncan painting and decorating.
Ryan from Bridgwater will now become a permanent engineer with the WSRA, has been with for the organization for four years, initially as a volunteer in the workshop and has family connections with the railway.
"Working here has been very rewarding and the skills I have learnt will set me up for life. I'm now looking forward to being here full-time. It's great having the opportunity to see old-time skills in action and to be able to implement them for yourself, and to really use your brain to think problems through," Ryan said.
Peter Chidzey, education trustee at WSRA said, "There's no doubt about it, restoring locomotives and maintaining heritage stock is challenging. We need a constant flow of resources including funds and people. Without the work and commitment of these dedicated apprentices, we wouldn't be able to function and I think for them, without us, they wouldn't be able to learn all these wonderful skills. It's a great relationship."
There are likely to be big changes in the New Year for the WSRA, after a report published in December concluded that all present trustees should stand down as the leadership "lacked clarity and purpose".