South East Wales

New apprentices keep mining memories alive at Big Pit

Big Pit Image copyright NAtional Museum Wales

A former coal mine that is now a national museum has taken on two new apprentices to help keep underground memories alive.

It is more than 30 years since the last coal was dug at Big Pit in Torfaen, after which it became the National Coal Museum.

It hired the pit's former miners to maintain the underground workings and act as tour guides.

But many are now retiring - and fresh blood was needed.

David Powell from Treharris and Ben Monro from Caerphilly were among 52 who applied for the new jobs as mining craft apprentices.

"I am extremely excited at the prospect of becoming a part of Welsh industrial heritage and to contribute to Big Pit's aims and objectives as a world class museum," said Mr Powell.

Ben Monro added: "I feel passionate about encouraging individuals and families from all backgrounds to visit our national museums and look forward to increasing understanding and appreciation of our history and culture."

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Media captionNew apprentices keep mining memories alive

The pair will now undergo vocational training, with hands-on experience working next to members of the maintenance team, as well as becoming part-time members of the local Mines Rescue Team.

It is hoped after six months of training they will become underground guides at the pit.

Mine manager Huw Jones said: "The apprenticeships are an important part of the succession plan at Big Pit and will help to ensure that the public can continue to enjoy the underground experience at the museum and learn about the history of the mining industry in Wales.

"We are hopeful that the apprenticeship initiative will continue year on year."

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