A WARRINGTON student who finished college only last year has taken the fast track to securing his dream job.
Caleb Lovegrove, who studied at Priestley College, is now busy building, maintaining and fixing steam engines of all sizes from across the world.
The 19-year-old said: “This is pretty much my dream job because steam locomotives have always been a very large part of my life.
“I spent lots of time watching and riding the world famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways when I was younger and seeing these beautiful engines work I just knew what I wanted to do.”
It was with this career in mind that the former Bridgewater High School pupil chose his STEM-related subjects at Priestley.
He opted for Engineering, 3D Product Design, Mathematics and BTEC Applied Science while also continuing to volunteer on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways.
It was his volunteering that brought him to the attention of Simon Hudson who offered Caleb a job at his West Yorkshire steam workshop as soon as he finished college.
“I jumped at the chance to carry on doing something that I love, but this time getting paid for it,” said Caleb.
“The STEM subjects I studied gave me the grades that are needed in this day and age, but my four years volunteering gave me the grounding I needed for my job.”
Caleb is currently restoring a 1924 Fowler locomotive – an Australian Tully Sugar Mills engine that used to pull sugar trains from the fields in the Outback.
The workshop bought the rusty heap after it was found in a field in Australia and hope to have it fully restored by 2024, in time for its 100th anniversary.
“Hopefully we can take it back out to the Tully Sugar Mills and have fun with it on its original railway,” Caleb said.
Mark Eccleston, 3D product design tutor at the college, said: “Caleb’s passion and talent for locomotives was always obvious to see so it’s great to hear he is doing so well and making a difference in this industry.”