Splashing the cash: £10.1million to help widen heritage talent pool

Trainees will learn traditional seamanship and curatorial skills Credit: National Historic Ships UK

The National Lottery is investing £10.1million in 18 projects across the UK to help train a new and more diverse generation of heritage craftspeople, digital specialists and entrepreneurs.

A strong focus will be placed on people who may never have considered a career in heritage. There will be opportunities for ex-servicemen training as dry stone wallers, young novices working on historic ships, women training as steam boiler engineers and people from areas of high unemployment working in museums and visitor attractions.

“It’s simple yet highly effective: trainees paired with experts gain access to knowledge plus practical, paid, on-the-job experience.”Sir Peter Luff, Chair of HLF

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), said: “There is no quick fix to this problem. The heritage sector has been slow in widening the profile of its workforce and as a consequence is on a long-term learning curve.

“We wanted to build on the legacy of our existing targeted skills funding – £47m to date – and make a further financial commitment of just over £10m. Why? Because we know the Skills for the Future programme can drive successful and lasting change. It’s simple yet highly effective: trainees paired with experts gain access to knowledge plus practical, paid, on-the-job experience.”

This funding is part of a wider commitment made by HLF in the Government’s Culture White Paper. It will address specific skills shortages to ensure our buildings, landscapes, species, industrial heritage and museum and archive collections are sustained for the future, as well as developing important public engagement skills.

Tracey Crouch, Heritage Minister, said: “Investing in new heritage talent will ensure we build a more sustainable sector, protect our treasured history and continue to attract visitors from across the globe.   

“I’m delighted to see money raised by National Lottery players being used to train and develop people’s skills and deliver on our promise in the Culture White Paper.”

Projects that have received HLF’s support include:

Culture&: The New Museum School, London - £727,400

Thirty-four people will undertake 12-month placements at 22 organisations including the Brent Museum, Geffrye Museum, London Transport Museum and Valance House Museum, Barking. Priority candidates will be under 25, from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, or from lower socio-economic groups. The project will include training in conservation, collections management, digitisation and public engagement.

Dry Stone Walling Association (UK-wide reach) – £183,800

Eight people will train over two years as dry stone wallers to address an ongoing skills shortage. Trainees with no previous experience will be targeted including ex-servicemen and ex-offenders.

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways (FWHR), Wales - £464,000

Twenty trainees, many of whom will be women, under-25s and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, will learn essential skills to work on heritage railway visitor attractions. The training comprises work placements at various heritage railways and includes learning mechanical engineering and joinery skills.

British Museum, London (UK-wide reach) - £743,600

Twenty-seven trainees from a range of backgrounds and based in museums across the UK will train in digital data management, preservation and access. This will enable them to become champions for digital training in the sector and help to place digital best practice at the heart of museums’ work.

Blyth Tall Ship, North East - £679,000

Thirty-four people, many drawn from local communities, will have the opportunity to train as shipwrights in Blyth, Northumberland. Placements will focus on specialist skills currently at risk of being lost such as the rigging and repair of wooden ships.

Ulster Wildlife Trust, Northern Ireland - £403,700

Ulster Wildlife Trust will train 21 people over a three-year programme in natural conservation skills, both marine and land based. Recruitment will prioritise under-24s, those from a minority ethnic background and people with disabilities. The Trust will work in partnership with a number of other organisations, including the National Trust and Butterfly Conservation.

Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust (BESTT), Yorkshire and Humber (UK-wide reach) - £622,200

Sixteen participants will learn how to overhaul to overhaul the mechanical components of steam locomotives, ships and road vehicles. The project will recruit trainees from areas of high unemployment.

The other 11 successful applicants are:

  • The National Archives, London (England reach) - £749,300
  • Lincolnshire County Council, East Midlands - £600,900
  • Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service, East of England - £570,000
  • National Historic Ships UK, London (England and Scotland reach) - £418,800
  • Creative & Cultural Skills, Wales - £709,600
  • Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, East Midlands (EM and Yorkshire & Humber reach) - £738,700
  • South West Wildlife Trusts - £508,100
  • The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Blank Country, West Midlands - £539,200
  • Next Step Initiative (NSI), Scotland - £496,200
  • Museums Galleries Scotland - £569,900
  • Trees for Life, Scotland - £376,80

While Skills for the Future is not a job creation programme, past projects have had an impressively high success rate with 75% of trainees securing a job in heritage following their training.

Skills for the Future is now closed to further applications. As part of this investment new training placements will continue to be created until 2021.                    

Notes to Editors

  • *First launched in July 2009, Skills for the Future is an HLF grants programme supporting organisations across the UK to develop vocational learning programmes.  Thanks to this latest funding announcement, HLF has awarded grants totalling nearly £60m under this programme, enabling high-quality, work-based training, the development of new qualifications and heritage career pathways, and sector capacity-building work
  • Past projects funded through Skills for the Future include: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority – Skills in Action; National Trust – Passport to Your Future; Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums - Heritage Engineering Skills; and National Museums Liverpool – Positive Action Training
  • Join the discussion and hear more from people who are already benefiting from our Skills for the Future funding in the Online Community and on Twitter

Further information

Katie Owen, HLF Press Office, via tel: 020 7591 6036 or 07973 613820.   

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