The Steam Apprentice Club was set up by the National Traction Engine Trust in 1979 to provide young people under the age of 21 with a chance to experience the driving and day-to-day running of steam implements. It also produces its own club journal in which apprentices can write about their activities throughout the summer rally season.
Following the success the success of last year's one-day course, Paul and Lin Worbey, with the help of experienced club members of the Bedford Steam Engine Preservation Society, organized an apprentice driving weekend on behalf of the Steam Apprentice Club. It was held at Shuttleworth House on the 15th and 16th of April 2000. There were 47 young apprentices there, receiving a weekend of steam engine instruction. Their ages ranged from 5 to 17 and all seemed to have a most enjoyable time, even though they ended up with dirty hands and faces.
In the presence of 15 varied steamers, the youngsters received thorough instruction, especially in safety. After much cleaning, the young apprentices were given the opportunity to drive each engine if they wanted. This was followed by a traditional shovel firebox fry-up for dinner.
The Leader of Bedfordshire County Council, Cllr. John Saunders, himself a steam engine owner and Chairman of B.E.S.P.S, presented certificates of proficiency to the participants.