The National Traction Engine Trust

Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust (BESTT)

Project Development Leader, National Boiler Skills Training Programme

Job Description, Person Specification and Future of the Post

BESTT (Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust) is seeking a Project Development Leader to develop and finalise the BESTT national boiler skills training project which has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and now needs to be supported by a detailed training plan as part of its second round application to the HLF “Skills for the Future” programme. This is a 3 month project development contract starting in August 2013. If funding is secured for the second round application we will also be seeking to recruit a National Programme Manager for the delivery phase in 2014-6.

Project Development Leader role:

The main objectives for the work are to liaise with relevant bodies and organisations to enable BESTT to complete the preparation of its national training plan for heritage boiler skills so as to meet HLF criteria under the Skills for the Future programme and as part of this:

• To negotiate agreements with boilershop and college partners which will provide high quality training which meets the objectives established by BESTT within the requirements of the HLF programme

• To develop and establish a viable framework with participating FE colleges for off site training

• Help develop a national boiler training syllabus using BESTT key topics

• Develop approaches and initiatives with partners which will attract a wider range of people from more diverse backgrounds to undertake heritage boiler training

• Build relationships with and secure engagement from relevant employers, trainers, accreditation agencies, relevant sector skills bodies and potential trainees which will promote awareness of and buy in to the BESTT aims.

The Project Development Leader will report to and be supported by the BESTT Project Director, with input from other BESTT Trustees. The project as a whole is answerable to the BESTT Board.

Main outputs

The Project Development Leader tasks are divided into the following main areas of activity: -

(i) Completing the national training plan in line with HLF Guidance (Attached) Complete training and placement agreements with lead partner heritage boilershops and initiate and complete similar agreements to be offered to others in the sector in order to achieve national spread and diversity of operations. This includes assessing costings of training placements with providers together with any contractual implications. Help in drafting the national training plan and develop it in light of feedback from HLF, including the HLF appointed mentor, and the heritage sector; -

(ii) Develop a boilershop training module for use in FE and technical colleges, together with boilershop practical training and help development assessment tools for these; -

(iii) Recruitment of trainees Develop with placement partners proposals for a trainee recruitment campaign including tools and materials for interactive displays and agree a programme of recruitment locations; -

(iv) Contribute to other elements in the BESTT training plan such as development of the mature entrants course.

Location, Timing and work schedule

The work will start in August 2013 and will need to be completed by end October 2013. Much of the work can be done remotely but a good deal of travel in the UK will be needed. Given the short timescales regular reporting to BESTT will be required. This will include weekly liaison with the Project Director and an initial outline of the training plan by early September.


First degree or equivalent technical qualification

Key Knowledge and Skills and Experience


Eligible candidates must demonstrate:

• Understanding of technical training practice and the ability to create training materials for use at level 3 NVQ/SVQ in technical and FE colleges

• An interest in widening the boundaries of traditional recruitment of trainees in engineering and how to bring new training approaches into a traditional craft industry

• A basic understanding of boiler engineering, the ability to relate effectively and sympathetically to historic engineering and craft workshops and an appreciation of health and safety issues in this area.

• Integrity, diplomacy and good partner awareness, with the ability to liaise with and secure the commitment and alignment of key partners for BESTT

• An ability to complete tasks and work under pressure and to deadlines

• Drive, determination and ability to prioritise and get things done

• Literacy in IT


Other helpful skills include recent experience of training and preparing courses and knowledge of HLF funding requirements.

Recruitment process

Applicants should apply by email enclosing a personal statement (not exceeding 500 words) explaining why they are interested in the post, what they will bring to it and this should be accompanied by a current CV. Applications should be made by 15th July online to: We expect to shortlist on 23rd July and will hold interviews on 31st July in Birmingham (venue to be advised).

Invitation to Interview

All candidates invited to interview must also bring (i) educational and qualification certificates (e.g. the original or certified copy of certificates, diplomas etc) and (ii) a passport, or if not available, a current driving licence including a photograph and a full birth certificate; Any offer of appointment is subject to verification of identity and qualifications; such checks and confirmations as the Board of Trustees may require in accordance with statutory guidance.

Terms and Conditions of Contract:

Based on a salary of £8- 10k for 3 month contract, depending on experience. Conditions will be those set out in the model form of terms and conditions of engagement for the provision of consultancy services by engineering consultants (MF/4 2003/1 – attached).

Information for candidatesthe background to BESTT and the HLF Skills for the Future grant application

The formation of BESTT

For normal commercial use the steam locomotive boiler is obsolescent. Until the 1960s, large numbers were in use on railway locomotives, ships, traction engines. Their construction, maintenance and operation sustained an industrial level of jobs. Today the locomotive and similar types of boiler are to be found in two distinct parts of the economy; tourism and heritage, where they are crucial to the continued operation of around two hundred visitor attractions which play a significant part in the rural tourism economy, and leisure, with several thousand privately owned traction engines maintained and renewed by specialist suppliers.

Operating at pressures of up to 250psi and at very high temperatures, locomotive boilers are safety critical components. They can be kept in operation only through the application of specialist skills and equipment. Around 50 fully-skilled boilersmiths are at work in this country, together with less qualified assistants and supported by specialist boiler inspectors. However, many skilled specialists are now retiring and there is an increasing shortage of young people entering the industry and gaining appropriate experience. There is also an absence of the appropriate qualification structures which can provide the transferable skills to create a healthy job market. Research shows that this decline is likely to continue with very serious impacts for the heritage and tourist industry nationally. Similar problems are known to be arising abroad.

The Purpose of BESTT

The aim of BESTT is to ensure that the activity of boiler making, maintenance and repair is supplied with the skills and the standards it requires for safe and sustainable steam operations into the future. The heritage steam industry is not sustainable without the ability to comply with all safety, legal and regulatory requirements. BESTT has come into being specifically to tackle the decline of skills in boiler repair and manufacture and to create a national cross sectoral focus (railways, ships, traction engines and museum/stationary engines)to create training opportunities, increase skill levels and agree standards and best practice guidance unified across the sectors which take account of the changing and very different conditions in which the industry now operates.

What the BESTT HLF Skills for the Future project would do

The BESTT project which is the subject of this post would, subject to further work in the development phase of this project, enable the creation of a partnership programme of boiler training placements over a period of 2.5 years in modules of 3 months – up to 1 year which would be located at existing boilershops on heritage railways and other smaller workshops carrying out boiler repair and manufacture. Placements will be aimed at NVQ level 3, 18 year olds but could be varied. Trainees will be located primarily at one heritage operation but BESTT will arrange short stages at other workshops to give experience of the diversity of the sector. Trainees will receive a bursary for 1 year depending on age and experience and support for travel costs eg in relation to BESTT central courses. At the end of this project 10 new entrant trainees would have acquired marketable and certified qualifications and over time the overall pool of skilled boiler craftsmen would be significantly increased.

In the delivery phase there would be training input from experienced engineers in the heritage operation locations and day release participation in local engineering colleges to which BESTT will add a specific module on boiler repair and manufacture. BESTT would create the curriculum for this module. A BESTT national project manager will ensure quality of training, monitor supervision and assessment, and a healthy and safe working environment, and provide support on transition to employment after training.

The BESTT partnership programme will enable national coverage of training placement opportunities which would provide on the job training by boilershops which are well regarded in terms of good practice in the sector while also being open to smaller operations including those in the private sector. BESTT will also encourage mature entrant to follow a similar boilerwork training scheme, aimed at volunteers on existing projects wanting to acquire boiler skills.

Widening the range of people who enter heritage engineering training

There is a need to attract additional trainees to this sector and so there is scope to attract trainees from new areas and engage new and more diverse groups of people with heritage. In recruiting trainees BESTT will, as part of the development project, look for ways to attract those who might have an aptitude but not have considered this type of work.

02 Jul 2013