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Heritage Management, Conservation and Craft Skills Shortages NHPP Activity 2E1

Research carried out 2011-2015 to identify and ease the threat of shortages in the vital areas of traditional craft skills and heritage management. This work was part of the National Heritage Protection Plan.

A group of trainees graduating from a traditional building skills scheme
24 trainees from the Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme pictured in 2012 after graduating. © English Heritage

Scope of the activity

England’s Heritage needs a workforce of an adequate size with the right skills to maintain it physically and to manage it. Skills shortages in heritage management, technical conservation and craft skills in historic buildings and their interiors mean that put heritage assets are at risk of losing of what makes them significance and gives them heritage value.

This Activity identified the nature and extent of such skills gaps and shortages, and sought to put in place practical measures to ease them.  We worked together with organisations such as the National Heritage Training Group, Construction Skills, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), The National Trust, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA).

Intended protection results

Through the projects noted below, we aimed to help maintain the level of key craft skills in the country that relate to the physical conservation of the historic environment. We also aim to keep up the right levels of heritage management skills and help the historic environment workforce adapt to change.

A trainee applying stencilling to a historic building interior
A previous trainee from the Traditional Building Skills Scheme applying stencilling at The Royal Albert Hall © English Heritage

Projects in this Activity

Craft skills

Craft skills labour market intelligence

To deal with skills shortages, we need to know more about them. In partnership with Historic Scotland and Construction Industry Training Board Construction Skills, we have commissioned consultants Pye Tait to gather information on skills shortages in the current labour market. The survey focuses on the key areas of craft skills, practical historic buildings conservation and landscapes conservation, in England and Scotland.

Historic environment profession skills

Profiling the profession 2012-2013

To complement the above work research on craft skills, English Heritage has supported an updated “profiling the profession” survey looking at the archaeology labour market. See the resulting report.

We have also co-funded a similar profile of conservators.

Developing standards and guidance for curatorial advice in local authorities

English Heritage, the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists formed a partnership to put in place guidelines and standards for those in local government giving advice on archaeological/ investigative matters in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  See this standard on the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists website.

Supporting Training

In addition to the applied research elements of the activity, together with other members of the National Heritage training Group, we funded a number of places on traditional skills  and historic environment management training schemes and bursaries.

Two architectural investigators surveying buildings
A former EPPIC placement student (on the right) with an English Heritage Architectural Investigator carrying out a survey of buildings in Peckham, London, in 2008. © English Heritage

Links to other activities

The Activity relates to our other work on capacity loss in Local Authorities, NHPP Activity 2E2.

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