During our series of June 2016 information workshops to help potential applicants understand the Skills for the Future programme, we asked delegates to exchange information about the skills shortages they were aware of through their roles in the sector, as well as any sources of external evidence they could share. The views of over 260 organisations are represented here. Most people noted informal or word-of-mouth based industry knowledge; where reports or data sets were noted hyperlinks are included below.
Land and Biodiversity
Those working in the natural heritage sector identified an on-going need for training in species and habitat identification as well as environmental recording, taxonomy and surveying. Some mentioned specific species such as mammals and deer. There were also more general references to field workers, practical ecologists and those able to manage habitats, including forests/woodlands/coppice.
Some highlighted a lack of rural skills, including dry stone dyking, hedging and traditional craft skills. Others felt there was a need for better environmental interpretation and a lack of skilled people who could communicate with the public effectively or engage them in practical conservation. The skills needed to work with nature to address contemporary challenges such as flooding and re-wilding were referenced by a small number of people as were specialist horticultural skills, and estate management. Some people noted agricultural skills were in short supply; we noted farming/food production skills were not a priority for the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Colleagues referenced: Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment Management data
Industrial, Maritime and Transport
Delegates identified technical, engineering and public engagement skills needed to keep a range of former industrial sites functioning and open to the public: for example, mines (which faced losing the last expert generation), historic railways, mills (many of which were becoming inoperable it was said), vehicles and even tanning workshops were mentioned, alongside canals and inland waterways. Some referenced boat building and conservation/maintenance skills, including shipwrighting, carpentry and corking, and related sailing skills to keep historic vessels on the water. Trainers in boat-building skills were in short supply and we clarified we could fund reasonable train-the-trainer costs. One delegate noted that there were over 100 steam centres around the UK with a paid workforce over 60 years in the main and no industry skills providers. General education, IT, business, project management skills and volunteer management skills were also mentioned in relation to industrial and maritime heritage settings.
More on other sectors to follow…