Tim Walker Restorations
Position: Office Manager
Favourite vehicle: Lagonda M45 tourer or the Jaguar XK120
Can you tell me about Tim Walker Restorations, its history, what do you pride yourselves on? Tim Walker Restorations was founded in 1979. Tim owned and raced vintage cars all of his life. He found a 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle which stayed in the family for over 50 years. He also owned a Speed 20 Alvis Special and campaigned for hundreds of VSCC and BDC events. During Tim's National Service he was Transport Officer for his regiment followed by a brief foray into banking in the City and spent several years as a petrol representative with National Benzole and Shell and was in partnership with two local garages. The company is now run by Tim’s son Guy who joined his father in the family business in 1992.
We pride ourselves not only on our work but our customer relationships; we want everyone who visits to enjoy their time here and to leave feeling happy and valued.
Why have you chosen to invest in apprentices?
We believe it is vital that we pass on skills and knowledge to a younger generation and that young people have the opportunity to experience the joy of working on heritage vehicles, and to have people willing to take a chance on them and support them in the development of their practical and professional skills.
What are the benefits or working with apprentices? Are there any which have surprised you?
Our apprentices are keen and eager, they both work hard to develop their skills and knowledge and bring a youthful enthusiasm to the team. I get so much enjoyment from watching them grow and learn every day. I feel such pride in their achievement and have been surprised by how personally invested I am in their development and growth.
What advice would give to a young person looking to work in the heritage vehicle industry?
Just do it – there are so many opportunities and specialisms available to try and to choose from and there is enormous satisfaction and joy in learning traditional skills.
Why did you choose us to deliver the apprentice programme, how did you find out about HSA?
We have close links to Bicester Heritage and Francis Galashan of the Federation Skills Trust who told us about HSA; we had been previously disheartened by other apprenticeship schemes, but when we heard about Heritage Skills Academy and the content of the course which would encourage young people into the industry and helps stop skills dying out, we decided to take a chance.
How have you found HSA from initial contact, through to placing an apprentice?
HSA have been great; they visit regularly and communicate well so we always know what our apprentices have been doing and how they are progressing. It has been an easy process from start to finish and feels like a truly collaborative partnership.
What have you been most impressed with (HSA and your apprentice(s)?
I have been really impressed with the communication. Our apprentices go on block release every 5-6 weeks; we always receive a follow up after their week of onsite learning to let us know what they have been doing, and how they are getting on. I feel really involved in their learning journey, so we are able to help support and develop skills further when the apprentices are onsite with us.
What are your future plans for apprentices and developing the business?
We will keep on keeping on! When Joe and Emma have completed their apprenticeship programme, we will continue to work with them to develop their skills and knowledge further. We would definitely consider another apprentice in future.
Is there anything else we should know?
No, we are just really happy; the block release works well, and they can cover so much in this time. I really like that they cover some of the business side giving them an understanding of where the money goes (what is and is not chargeable), the importance of customer relations and all of these great transferable skills.