About us

What Does The Heritage Skills Academy Do?

We work directly with Employers who task the Heritage Skills Academy with:

  • Advertising their vacancy
  • Conducting initial Interviews with applicants
  • Shortlisting suitable candidates and arranging interviews with the Company
  • Organising employment with the company
  • Organising and delivering the Apprenticeship Training over three to four years
  • Looking after the interests of the Apprentice and Employer to ensure that Apprentices are successful Training Location

The Heritage Skills Academy (HSA) is located in the heart of ‘Bicester Heritage’ which has gained international recognition as the UK’s ‘Centre of Excellence for historic motoring and aviation. For apprentices lucky enough to become part of Heritage Skills Academy, our location within ‘Bicester Heritage’ provides an exciting and vibrant environment which embeds them within the world of specialist engineers, historic engineering and cutting edge technology. With the support of the Federation of Historic British Vehicle Clubs’, the Galashan Foundation’ and the ‘Starter Motor Charity, HSA has developed workshop and training facilities dedicated to Heritage Engineering mechanical, coachbuilding and trim apprenticeships.

In March 2019 HSA will be opening a new coachbuilding and trim facility at Bicester Heritage and in 2020 HSA will be expanding into Bicester Heritage’s new technical site. This unique location provides the finest academy in the world for the training and education of the UK’s next generation of world class Heritage Engineers. We hope you enjoy the experience as much as we do.

Our Team

Andy Kelly Coachbuilding and Trim Director

Andrew has been employed within the Vehicle Body Repair Industry/ Education for over 30 years and has had experience of a main dealer apprenticeship and training throughout his career. He is an experienced college lecturer, having worked in inner London and beyond. Andrew is a keen car enthusiast and enjoys maintaining, showcasing and attending track days with his classic Beetle race car, which he custom built with students. He is a former scout leader and community volunteer. Andrew's passion for classic car restoration is clear to see and he is an advocate for combining modern technology with traditional craftmanship.

Bob Johnson - Lecturer

Bob Johnson is an experienced Lecturer with 30 years’ experience of classic vehicle maintenance and restoration. Army trained, he has worked on a broad range of military, light and commercial vehicles alongside his passion for flying. Whilst working as a Lecturer Bob  resumed restoring vehicles of both two and four wheels types ranging from Rally driver Paddy Hopkirk’s first vehicle (a 1924 Pultney, in which Paddy learnt to drive).  A championship winning single seater hill climb car and an MGBGT followed by various 50’s and 60’s motorcycles and scooters including works racing motorcyles from Yamaha, Kawasaki and BSA.

Bob built a Tab Framed Honda 350K4 to compete at the Isle of Man Manx GP and raced it himself in England and now parades some of the race bike's he has restored for their owners as well as being a technical scrutineer for the CRMC.

Janice Pitchforth - Operations Director

Janice Richardson joined the HSA team in January 2018 and brings 20 years of organisational experience to the company. Operating from our Head Office at Bicester Heritage, her role includes employer engagement, recruitment and administration. Acting as the primary contact with employers and apprentices, Janice ensures that all operational aspects of the business are handled quickly and effectively.

John Pitchforth - Managing Director

John Pitchforth has worked in automotive apprenticeship training since 1986, he has been the CEO of a number of Training Providers and started the ‘Heritage Skills Academy’ in response to a widening skills gap within the restoration sector.

Working closely with engineering restoration specialists from the vehicle, aviation, marine and steam world, he has helped lead the development of the new ‘Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship Standard’ and to secure the funding to ensure high quality training the team have successfully developed and are delivering a training programme tailored to the requirements of this specialist industry. From September 2017 ‘Heritage Skills Academy’ mechanical programme is being delivered from our new state of the art workshop and classroom facilities based at the ‘Bicester Heritage’ site in Oxfordshire.

Matt Salt - Heritage Engineering Tutor

Matt has worked exclusively in the motor trade, for independent garages and specialists, gaining a wide range of knowledge and skills in older vehicles and modern classics. He has carried out military service, in a variety of theatres and later as a service engineer and restoration technician.

Matt has been teaching Motor Vehicle Studies in Further Education Colleges across the south of England for the last 20 years and has a wealth of teaching experience for students of all ages and abilities., delivering bespoke learning for individuals. He has a real passion for teaching the restoration of old vehicles, cars and motorcycles. Matt says” I enjoy showing our students what they can achieve especially with heritage vehicles, it’s a privilege to work with them”. 

Paul Winsor - Heritage Engineering Tutor

I’ve worked in a wide range of companies in the motor trade either running my own businesses or training students and apprentices. I started off as an HGV apprentice with a truck importer during which time I restored my own Triumph Stag. I worked briefly in a small family run garage before starting my own business with a friend. As with a lot of small businesses they were no wages, but I did get a Brand-new Ford Capri 2.8 special as a company car! (at the time this was quite a special car)

During this time, I took my first stint at lecturing at Wycombe College. I moved more and more into restoring classic and sports cars and featured in Autocar with a fully restored MGA. I also worked in a main dealer followed and this evolved into starting another business specialising in SAABs.

An opportunity arose to manage an Injection Moulding company manufacturing parts for the car industry. During this time, I trained as a Paintless Dent Removal technician and left the company to follow this path and I still run this business on a part time basis.
It was at this point, some 13 years ago I started to lecturer Motor Vehicle Technology in FE colleges in West London and continue this to this day. I joined Heritage Skills Academy in April 2019 and it’s a fabulous place to work.

Rob Oldham - Development Coach

Rob Oldham has the automotive industry running through his veins.

Over the last 35 years he’s done the job, sold solutions to those who do the job, and now he is developing the new generation of talent who will be doing the job in the years to come.

Rob has got his hands dirty on everything from combine harvesters to Formula 1 engines – and his blend of assessment skills and industrial experience make those a safe pair of hands to help develop tomorrow’s automotive experts.

His CV ranges from track build to testing, while his portfolio boasts professional qualifications from C&G to the IMI.

Rob has spent the last 12 years working in academia. He has developed and delivered work-based learning for a wide range of motor vehicle, agricultural, bodywork and automotive courses, helping students from level 1 apprentices to level 4 master technicians get their best results.

Steve Beaumont - Training Director

Steve Beaumont is responsible for the development and delivery of all the Heritage Skills Academy Programmes and is a very experienced automotive lecturer. Army trained and with an impressive record of success in developing and managing bespoke automotive programmes for many of the UK’s leading training companies.

His passion and enthusiasm for our engineering heritage is infectious and his teaching style ensures that apprentices are engaged and interested in the subjects they are learning. Throughout his career, Steve has been involved in maintaining and restoring a broad range of vehicles. His passion is motorcycles which has involved him for many years in race teams and track training. 


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