TRAINEES at a Snowdonia heritage railway are making tracks on their own historic journey.

In January, 2018, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways secured a £454,500 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for a training programme introducing heritage skills to a more diverse audience.

Part of the Skills for the Future scheme, the programme successfully recruited 20 trainees over a two-year period.

The aim of the project was to attract trainees and share the heritage skills of the railway’s workforce.

Now, the first intake of apprentices who joined in September, 2018 have now completed their traineeships in one of five different skills areas including mechanical engineering and heritage joinery.

The railway aims to encourage people to take up careers in the heritage sector, to build a more "sustainable" workforce for the future.

A celebration of the first year of the training scheme was held in the Oakeley Room, Plas Tan y Bwlch.

A spokesperson said: "The trainees were asked to showcase their learning journey, in terms of the knowledge and skills they have gained during their year at the railway.

“They gave presentations outlining what excellent progress they have made during the past twelve months.

“The individual presentations were superb, and we feel certain that the majority of the audience had little comprehension of the incredible achievements that had been accomplished in such a short time.”

The trainees also completed a nationally recognised NVQ qualification and worked alongside staff at other heritage organisations during one week placements.

Heritage skills training programme manager Kaz Spring said she was “Absolutely amazed" by the success of the training programme and the "incredible impact" that the trainees have had on the organisation.

“They have brought the place alive and created a lasting legacy of skills for the future," she said.

"We are indebted to them for their contributions and also to staff and our placement partner organisations for their time and support."

Three of the trainees have been offered full time positions with the FfWHR, and two others have been offered places with other organisations such as the Vale of Rheidol Railway and the A1 Locomotive Trust.

She added: "We have already recruited our second round of ten trainees ready to commence their traineeships in September.

"We look forward to welcoming them to the railway and another opportunity to build on the successes of this year and into the future."