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


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 Richardson - 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 Passfield – Senior Lecturer & Assessor

John Passfield has over 35 years’ experience as an Engineer, Tutor and Assessor. He has been involved for many years with the restoration and maintenance of vehicles from the early 1900’s to modern classics. For the past three years John has developed and delivered the P & A Wood Classic Vehicle Apprenticeship Programme and is closely involved in developing new standards for the Restoration Industry. John’s focus has always been on ensuring the success of the apprentices and his willingness to share his knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious.

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.

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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