19 April 2011

Restorative power of youth

Three apprentices from Salford-based clean technology business Ener-G have restored an historic engine that powered the post industrial revolution.

For the past two years, the apprentices – who are more used to working with new-generation green technology – have worked one day a week alongside retired engineers at the Anson Engine Museum, in Poynton, Cheshire, to restore a 1943 Brotherhood Engine. The engine is the size of a transit van, and was last used 20 years ago to power beer making at Kirkstall Brewery in Yorkshire.

On completion of the project, Ener-G group chairman Tim Scott visited the museum to see the engine in operation and donated £1,500 to thank the museum for hosting the apprentices.

"This was the first time we've seen the engine working, so it was fantastic to get it running and to show it off," said Dean Mellor, who has recently completed his apprenticeship and is now a qualified production fitter.
He added: "We've gained a fantastic education from the other volunteers who have years of experience in traditional engineering and have passed on to us the techniques and skills that they've been using all their working lives. It's given us a deep understanding of engines and made us so much better at engineering."

In their day-to-day role, the apprentices manufacture renewable and energy efficient technologies, including combined heat and power systems.

Peter Wood, volunteer co-ordinator for Anson Museum, said: "This is the first time we have involved apprentices and it's been very successful. We're all getting on in years so it's been really nice to have young people around. It's been a two-way relationship in that we've benefited from their help, and they've learned valuable skills from qualified engineers with years of experience."

Ener-G started its engineering apprenticeship scheme in 2006, and trainees complete a four-year programme, spending one day a week studying for ONC and NVQ Level 2, and then HNC and NVQ Level 3. The company works in partnership with Salford and Trafford Engineering Group Training Association (STEGTA) and Trafford College Technology Centre.

Pictured, left to right, are apprentices Dean Mellor, Sandy Moor and Joe Brocklehurst.

Max Gosney

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