Full steam ahead for engineering volunteering

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A work experience placement has led to a new volunteering venture for Year 11 student, Luke Crowther.

Luke completed a work placement at Hatch Heritage & Steam Engineers last June, after meeting the team at a STEAM museum festival and discovering they already had links with UTC Swindon. Luke commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience placement and the organisation said they were impressed with the skills I demonstrated. After it was finished, I decided I wanted to volunteer in my free time and continue working with them to develop my engineering skills further.”

Luke now works on a traction engine at weekends at Hatch Heritage & Steam Engineers. At the beginning of the day, he prepares the engine and cleans it before getting the fire going. He makes sure everything is in running order, and once it’s steamed up after about two hours he can drive it, steer it and maintain it during road runs.

Luke said: “I’m really enjoying the experience and I want to carry on doing it for as long as I can. I find steam engineering really interesting and am currently completing my own project, building a scaled down version of a traction engine. Working at Hatch Heritage & Steam Engineers is helping me learn new skills with machinery and has improved my understanding of mechanical engineering.”

Luke joined UTC Swindon in Year 10, mainly attracted to the engineering specialism: “I come from a family of steam enthusiasts, so engineering has always interested me. UTC Swindon was the perfect choice of school for me because of the engineering specialism and fantastic facilities available.

“The connections with industry partners are great as well. When I leave school, I want to go on to work for Network Rail, which is one of the UTC’s partners, so that link is really useful for me.”

Last year’s STEAM Festival, where Luke met Pete Waterman
After a hard day’s work
Luke also works on a steam railway, where he’s training to be the fireman
Generations of steam engineers in Luke’s family; Luke’s grandad, grandma, mum and Luke
Luke steering an engine that his grandad helped restore