Two women looking at computer screen

Archaeological illustration training © Historic England DP218468
Archaeological illustration training © Historic England DP218468

Heritage Apprenticeships

This page explains the development of Heritage Apprenticeships for prospective employers, training providers, and assessment organisations, and other professionals in these sectors.

If you are interested in becoming an apprentice yourself, or learning more about apprenticeships offered by Historic England, please see the Historic England Apprenticeships webpage. New apprenticeship opportunities will be advertised on the jobs section.

Latest updates

September 2019: Historic Environment Advice Assistant Level 4 apprenticeships

Six new apprentices, funded by a grant from Allchurches Trust, have started their two-year+ Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprenticeship programme. The new recruits beat off completion from over 350 applicants to be selected for this brand new opportunity. They will be joined by 5 existing members of Historic England staff who will be undertaking the same programme, developed exclusively for this new apprenticeship standard and delivered with our Training Provider partners Strode College.

Find out more about what our new apprentices will be doing.

A group of heritage apprentices and Historic England staff photographed on a roof garden with London's cityscape in the background.
Some of the 2019 cohort of heritage apprentices with Historic England's Chief Executive Duncan Wilson. © Historic England

March 4-9: Apprenticeship week

Celebrating what apprenticeships have to offer. We will be celebrating the generous award from Allchurches Trust to fund six new Heritage Apprenticeships at Historic England, at a fully booked event at Wellington Arch on 6 March.

February 2019: have your say

We are now consulting on the exciting Historic Environment Advisor Level 7 Apprenticeship. 

Once approved, this apprenticeship will be available to all employers in the sector to train or upskill staff, so we encourage all employers to take part in the consultation. The consultation requests feedback on how the apprenticeship might be adapted or improved to better suit skills needs across the sector, and to get the best for potential apprentices.

Go to our Apprenticeships Consultations section to find out more and take part in the consultation.

December 2018: funders are keen

We are delighted at the news of a generous £471k grant award from Allchurches Trust to support six new heritage apprenticeships at Historic England.

Allchurches Trust Limited logo

Launched in Spring 2019, the grant will allow us to deliver an exciting new training programme based around the new Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprenticeship, one of six new higher and advanced level apprenticeships that our Historic Environment Trailblazer groups are developing.

We are currently recruiting these apprentices. Please see the Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprenticeship page if you are interested in applying.

On this page

On this page you will find: up-to-date information on the development of the new apprenticeships; opportunities to participate in the process by taking part in consultations on individual apprenticeships; as well as practical guidance for employers and training organisations on delivering new apprenticeships.

These are exciting times for the heritage sector, with the Government’s Apprenticeship Reform and the Culture White Paper challenging us all to develop new routes into and through sector for an increasingly broad range of talented people, whether new recruits or existing staff.

Increasing workforce diversity and embracing vocational training have been major priorities for the heritage sector for a long time, and the Government’s current drive for apprenticeships offers great opportunity to make significant advances in these areas with new resources, processes and guidance at unprecedented scale.

It is an opportunity to be seized by all employers across the heritage sector with both hands: a chance to drive step changes in workforce diversity and robust vocational training development.

It is Historic England’s job is to lead, inspire and support you to do so.

A woman recording graffiti in a castle prison cell.
Apprentice Elizabeth Stephens recording First World War graffiti at Richmond Castle. © Historic England

Developing new apprenticeships for the heritage sector

Driven by the hard work of over 70 employers, training providers and professional bodies from across the heritage sector, The Historic Environment Trailblazer, chaired by Historic England, is leading the development of six new Heritage Apprenticeships, which will be made available for employers and training providers in England in 2019.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfA) is guiding our work to develop new heritage apprenticeships. The development and approvals processes are rigorous and include: producing occupational standards, allocating appropriate funding and determining assessment processesThe standards are published on the IfA website about half way through the development process.

Once the IfA have signed off these core standard and assessment documents, there is still some important logistics and promotion work to be done before the standards are fully ready for employers to deliver. The new standards need to be promoted to:

1. Training Providers (FE / HE institutions and other training organisations) who will deliver the off-the-job training

2. End-Point Assessment Organisations: who will subcontract to training providers.

Training providers are the central player in these relationships. It is only once the Training Providers are in place and ready to deliver the standard, that the new apprenticeships will be ready to go. Their job is not only to deliver off-the-job training, but to advise and support employers and apprentices throughout their journey, and to subcontract independent organisations to conduct assessment.

When will the new heritage apprenticeships be available?

Once the standards are approved several rounds of drafts and comments on end-point assessment plans then follow. This fine-tuning development process means that we cannot provide exact dates for final approvals from the IfA, but we are confident that most of the new apprenticeships will be approved by the IfA during spring 2019.

During final stages of approval for the new heritage apprenticeships, the Trailblazer will focus on the promotion to Training Providers and End-point assessment organisations. As soon as these key delivery relationships are confirmed, we will post notice to the news section at the top of the page. Please check in regularly over the coming months for updates.

Whilst many of the Heritage Apprenticeships are still several steps way from being delivery-ready, employers and training providers should not wait until then to start planning how they will make the most of the opportunities ahead and deliver the new apprenticeships.

An apprentice setting up photogrammetry equipment in an office.
Geospatial Survey Apprentice Elizabeth Stephens using photogrammetry equipment to decipher inscriptions on a commemorative flagstone from Croft Castle, Herefordshire. © Historic England

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships offer a unique and valuable opportunity for individuals to learn a profession through formal training, gain experience in the workplace and earn money at the same time. An apprenticeship will involve 20% off-the-job and 80% on-the-job training, and overall comprise of 30+ hours per week and lasts for 12 months or more.

Apprenticeships can be from Level 2 to Level 7 (equivalent to GCSE up to post-graduate degree), and they offer employers the opportunity to take on new staff or to up-skill existing staff.  

There are several great sources for detailed government advice for employers seeking to offer apprenticeships in their organisations:

Why heritage apprenticeships?

The new heritage apprenticeships are designed to support the heritage sector to train and maintain a skilled workforce, that will care for, conserve, and manage our heritage and historic environment into the future.

Heritage apprenticeships will:

  • Offer important new routes into a range of professions
  • Increase diversity within the sector
  • Provide development opportunities for staff
  • Address staff shortages and specialist skills gaps in the sector
  • Guarantee professional competence to professional standards
  • Foster leadership and people skills for managers and mentors

What are the new heritage apprenticeships?

The Historic Environment Trailblazer is developing six apprenticeship standards in three areas: Archaeology, Conservation and Historic Environment Advice.

Standards in Development (click on the titles to see the IfA web page where standards are published).

  • Archaeological Technician Level 3: an apprenticeship designed to train Archaeological Fieldwork Officers providing support to Archaeologists undertaking archaeological investigation, including assisting with surveys, excavations and post-excavation analysis
  • Cultural Heritage Conservation Technician Level 4: an apprenticeship to train Conservation Technicians working under the supervision of professional Conservators or Conservation Scientists. The apprentice will work to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage objects or collections housed in archives, art galleries, libraries, museums, private collections, as well as historic and ancient sites
  • Historic Environment Advice Assistant Level 4: an apprenticeship for Assistant Historic Environment Advisors, providing technical, research, administrative and logistical support to Historic Environment services. This includes working on a range of heritage assets which may include listed buildings, scheduled ancient monuments, conservation areas, registered parks and gardens, registered battlefields, or protected wreck sites
  • Archaeological Specialist Level 7: a post graduate degree level apprenticeship designed for specialist practitioners in archaeology. dendrochronology, geophysical survey, pottery (various periods), and material science
  • Cultural Heritage Conservator Level 7: a post graduate degree level apprenticeship designed to train Specialist Conservators. Examples of specialisms include preventive conservation, paper, paintings, metals, stone, photographic conservation, digital preservation, or the conservation of time-based media. Examples of specialisms include finds or archaeobotany.

Other apprenticeships in development

Over 500 new apprenticeships have been approved or are currently in development. Many of these apprenticeships could support historic environment roles, in areas such as: Geospatial Surveying, Building & Quantity Surveying, Traditional Construction Trades, Architecture, Town Planning, Libraries, Archives and Information Management, Curatorial roles in Museums & Galleries and many more.

Further information on Trailblazers and the apprenticeships in development or approved for delivery can be found on standards page of the Institute for Apprenticeships website.

A trainee being taught how to use a total station for surveying at the ruins of a castle, with a range of hills in the background.
Historic Environment Placement trainee Eleanor Salkeld learning to carry out a survey using a total station at Clifford Castle, Herefordshire, with Historic England Investigator Olaf Bayer. © Historic England, Steven Baker, image reference DP218241

Apprenticeship consultations

The Historic Environment Trailblazer group is consulting on the Historic Environment Advisor Level 7 apprenticeship. The broad purpose of the occupation is to be responsible for providing specialist and authoritative advice, guidance and assessment to those working on heritage assets and the legal and policy frameworks for their protection.

The document below explains the apprenticeship for consultation in more detail.

Who will recruit heritage apprentices?

As the standards are approved, and once training providers and assessment organisations are agreed to deliver them, employers of all sizes and sectors will be able to recruit apprentices to the roles where they are required.

Training providers will be able to advise employers on the details of apprenticeship standards and assessment, in order to ensure fit between the apprenticeship standards and a given role, and to help employers plan the work of their apprentices in ways that comprehend the assessment methods and processes that will be used to assess their competence.

Training providers can play a key role in supporting employers to recruit apprentices, to understand how best to support apprentices from a range of backgrounds, and they must also hold significant pastoral responsibility for the apprentices. The processes of apprenticeship deliver are complex and robust. New apprenticeship standards are designed to provide maximum support for employers.

Employers will be able to advertise directly through their own recruitment channels, as well as  Positions are likely to be advertised on the Find An Apprenticeship service, and may also be advertised on the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists website, and the British Archaeological Jobs Resource.

Contact us

If you are an employer or a training provider in the Historic Environment sector and would like more information about the Trailblazer or the development and delivery of the new apprenticeship standards, please contact our apprenticeships team: [email protected]

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