A new £4.325 million five-year programme to help address long-term and severe heritage skills shortages in the construction sector has been announced by The Hamish Ogston Foundation and Historic England.
The grant is the largest one-off investment ever awarded to heritage construction training in England. It will fund an in-work heritage skills and apprenticeship scheme, which aims to increase expertise in essential crafts such as bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, plastering, roofing and stonemasonry. Without intervention now, these crucial skills are at risk of being lost forever with grave consequences for England’s pre-1919 historic buildings.
Apprentices will work alongside Historic England experts at sites in the North of England which are on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. They will make valuable contributions to the restoration of some of the country’s most precious historic buildings, such as Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire.
Participants will be able to learn their trade at critical points in their career, acquiring important skills and knowledge. It will offer new pathways into heritage construction, from young people interested in a future in heritage construction to experienced professionals working in mainstream construction considering a move across to the heritage sector.
There will be 40 training opportunities over the next five years with five apprentices being recruited now. Applicants can view all opportunities and apply via Historic England’s Apprenticeships page where they will find full details of the apprenticeship opportunities available. Applications close at midnight on 18 July 2021.
Historic England hopes that this five-year scheme will attract a future workforce to the heritage sector that represents the diversity of this country. The focus is on testing this new training model and repairing buildings at risk, giving trainees an opportunity to learn their trade while ensuring a future for some of England’s most important buildings. The long-term ambition is to expand the scheme across the country, leading to more people in rewarding and vital careers in heritage construction.
The apprentices will attend four-to-six-week summer schools at nationally significant Heritage at Risk sites such as Wentworth Woodhouse, starting in the Summer of 2022.
Hamish Ogston CBE of the Hamish Ogston Foundation said: “It gives me a huge sense of fulfilment to make this investment in a project that I am confident will make a real difference to people’s life chances, setting them on a path to sustainable, satisfying jobs. What could be more satisfying than giving a future to our past through hands-on work to conserve the great buildings that are one of our nation’s greatest assets? Part of my confidence comes from our partnership with Historic England, which has a track record of first-rate delivery and implementation. Together we will help supply the high-level practical skills that our built heritage needs if it is to survive and flourish.”
To encourage take-up of the apprenticeship programme, Historic England will be working with Further Education colleges and small heritage construction companies to recruit people in the core building trades of bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, plastering, roofing and stonemasonry. Training providers include Cheshire College South and West, Hopwood Hall College, Leeds College of Building, New College Durham, The Sheffield College and York College.
Next year, the scheme will also be open to experienced workers wishing to transition into heritage construction and learn specific heritage craft skills.
Opportunities will range from shorter placements of around six months to placements lasting for a year. Placements will be paid and each participant will have the benefit of having a mentor from within Historic England to help guide their career.
Opportunities will also be available in 2022 for nine-week placements for students on full time construction courses, to raise awareness of heritage construction careers.
Source: Historic England