Historic England to recruit 40 heritage construction apprentices in Yorkshire to prevent traditional skills from dying out

Historic England has announced a major scheme to recruit new apprentices into the heritage construction sector in order to save traditional crafts and skills from being lost.

James Digger, 22, is an apprentice stonemason at York Minster
James Digger, 22, is an apprentice stonemason at York Minster

The programme will include placements at listed buildings in Yorkshire such as Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, and training providers York College, Sheffield College and Leeds College of Building are involved.

Historic England claim trades such as bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, painting, plastering, roofing and stonemasonry within the heritage sector are suffering from a lack of new talent entering the industry and a future skills shortage could put conservation efforts at risk.

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The £4.3million, five-year apprenticeship scheme is the largest ever investment in heritage construction training and will be run in partnership with the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

Apprentices will work alongside experts at sites in the north of England that are on the Heritage at Risk register, and 40 training places will be provided in total.

Applications are open to novices and those with experience in the mainstream construction industry who are open to moving into the heritage sector.

If successful, the scheme will be expanded across the country.

The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust had to engage specialist heritage construction contractors Woodhead Group to work on the Grade I-listed house's recent roof restoration due to the sensitivity of the building's fabric.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: "We are delighted to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this ground-breaking programme. As life moves closer to normality again, this is an exciting employment and heritage skills training opportunity for young people starting their careers and for professionals in the construction industry looking for a rewarding change. This programme will inspire others by making a huge contribution towards saving some of England’s most important historic buildings.”  

  Applications for the first five trainee positions are now open and the deadline is July 18. Visit https://historicengland.org.uk/about/jobs/apprenticeships