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Engineering new opportunities at Big Pit

Big Pit is introducing a new apprenticeship scheme aimed at providing the next generation of staff for the world-famous mining museum.

The scheme at the award-winning mining museum is aimed at attracting aspiring engineers, who wish to specialise in mechanical and electrical engineering. 

For much of the last 20 years the mining industry in the UK has relied on men trained by the National Coal Board, but now with the future of coal mining looking bright, mine operators are providing more opportunities for new entrants to the industry. Big Pit is offering this training in partnership with Gower College Swansea, where the trainees will study for their formal qualifications.

“The Apprentices time will be split between their academic studies and practical work here at Big Pit, learning about both the engineering and visitor sides of our operations.” said Peter Walker, Mine Manager at Big Pit. “In the latter part of their apprenticeships they will be trained in mines rescue and join existing staff who work part time with the Mines Rescue Service.

“Coalmining has provided employment for generations of men in south Wales, and it’s really rewarding to be involved in creating the next generation of miners.”

Richard Phillips, 48, has worked as a Class 1 Mining Electrician at Big Pit for two years: “The old National Coal Board apprenticeship that I did was excellent but this new scheme looks even better. If I had a son or daughter who was interested in an engineering career I’d certainly recommended it to them and working at Big Pit is very rewarding. Technically it’s quite challenging as you learn something new each day but I never thought dealing with and meeting visitors from all over the world would be so enjoyable.”

“Gower College Swansea is delighted to work in partnership with Big Pit to offer this apprenticeship opportunity,” says Engineering Learning Area Manager Dave Cranmer. “Over the past few years there has been a real resurgence in the local mining industry and we are proud to be at the forefront of this exciting new training programme.”