How To Apply
Visitors including a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair across a wooden bridge at Birkenhead Park

Skills for the Future 

This programme closed to applications on 31 January 2013. If you have a query about the Skills for the Future programme that is not answered by the information given below, please email

Skills for the Future funds work-based training in a wide range of skills that are needed to look after buildings, landscapes, habitats, species, and museum and archive collections, as well as equipping people to lead education and outreach programmes, manage volunteers and utilise digital technologies. We give grants to organisations that can demonstrate a skills shortage and are able to plan and develop a new training programme and to recruit, train and pay trainees new to the sector.

This initiative is intended to:

  • increase the range and quality of work-based training to develop skills in the heritage sector
  • meet identified skills shortages in the heritage sector
  • increase the capacity of the sector to deliver training and share good practice
  • increase the diversity of the heritage workforce.

The difference we want to make 

The Skills for the Future initiative will achieve outcomes for heritage, people and communities. Individual projects needs to contribute towards the three outcomes listed below.

Outcomes for people

With our investment, people will have:

  • developed skills
  • learnt about heritage

Outcomes for communities

With our investment:

  • more people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage

Skills for the Future projects 

In May 2013 we awarded £20.1million to 39 first-round projects. This money will deliver 876 new placements, adding up to 918 years’ worth of paid training opportunities for people seeking a career in heritage. It will not only support traditional heritage skills, key to sustaining our rich cultural landscape, but also a wide variety of more contemporary ones, such as business planning and digital skills, to ensure the heritage industry remains resilient.

View the list of Skills for the Future projects which are currently in an early stage of development.

Our most recent awarded projects will learn from and build on those we funded in May 2010 when we awarded £17 million to 54 projects. Following further investment in 2011, many of these projects are still advertising exciting new traineeships offering skills in boatbuilding, volunteer management, horticulture and a huge range of other skills.

Access a full list of Skills for the Future projects and find out about the training opportunities currently available.

Skills for the Future builds on the success of our Training Bursaries programme, which was designed to create a range of conservation-focussed training opportunities across the UK. Funding awarded under the programme, now closed to grant applications, will create over 1,000 training placements.




Skills for the Future video transcript (PDF, 132KB)

Trainee stonemason helping with ongoing maintenance at Gloucester Cathedral 

Skills for the Future 

Application materials

Essential reading

Good-practice guidance

We provide a range of good-practice guidance to help you plan and deliver your heritage project.

Find more projects

Discover more about projects previously funded through this programme.