Traditional Building Skills Bursaries

Here you'll find a range of training schemes that offer opportunities to become qualified, develop your understanding and gain practical skills to work on historic buildings.

This page covers:

A TBSBS trainee working on stonemasonry at Gloucester Cathedral

Skills for the Future

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Skills for the Future programme supports a number of bursary schemes which include some for traditional building skills. 

The latest round of the programme sees the HLF 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.

The Skills for the Future forum connects people involved in Skills for the Future and Training Bursaries projects with others interested in heritage skills.

Current projects include the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) funding to provide a range of training opportunities between January 2016 and the end of 2018 . These are available for new entrants, career changers and those looking to up-skill from mainstream construction including:

  • 30 work-based training bursary placements
  • Qualifications including the Level 3 Award in Understanding Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Pre-1919 Buildings, Specialist Apprenticeship Programme and Level 3 NVQ Diplomas in Heritage Skills
  • Recruiting and training mentors

For information on the Building Traditional Skills - Building Resilience, Building Community in England, contact the National Project Manager:
Graham Lee, email: [email protected]

Also see NHTG Bursaries and Award Schemes.

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund logo

William Morris Craft Fellowship

The Fellowship programme is run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and supported by Historic England. Each year the Fellows spend six months travelling the length of the country together, visiting sites and working with craftspeople, contractors and professionals. It is designed to broaden the skills and experience of craftspeople, from any trade, who want to develop their career in the repairing of historic buildings.

Find out more from the SPAB Scholars' and Fellows' blog'.

Find how to apply on the SPAB website.

Canal and Rivers Trust

Waterway Heritage Trainees are recruited across both Wales and England. Trainees gain practical skills working alongside the Canal and Rivers Trust construction teams. In the classroom, trainees gain an NVQ Level 2 in Waterway Heritage Skills along with a knowledge based qualification of the history and construction of canals and waterways.

Prince's Foundation

The Building Craft Programme gives practical experience in traditional building skills and an opportunity to gain a Heritage Skills NVQ Level 3. This course is designed for craftspeople looking to bridge the gap between basic qualifications and becoming a master craftsperson working within the heritage sector. It is supported by Historic England.

The Young Heritage Apprenticeship programme began in 2014 and has been designed to help 16-18 year olds into a career in the heritage sector. It provides practical experience in traditional building crafts and the opportunity to gain the following qualifications: 

  • Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Building Maintenance, Multi-Trade Repair and Refurbishment (Construction)
  • Level 3 Award in Understanding Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Pre-1919 Buildings
Learning stonemasonry skills on the PRINCES FOUNDATION Building Craft Programme
Learning stonemasonry skills on the Princes Foundation Building Craft Programme © Princes Foundation

Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme

The Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme ran successfully between 2006 to 2015. In total it offered 178 high quality work based placements allowing apprentices to complete their training and to gain vocational qualifications.

The evaluation report is available to download.

You can find out more about the projects the apprentices were involved in by visiting the blog on the TBSBS website, or hear from the apprentices directly by following them on the TBSBS Facebook page and Twitter account @TTBSBS.

The scheme was funded by the HLF, run by the National Trust and supported by Historic England, Cadw and Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme trainees
TBSBS trainee © National Trust

The Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme 2012-15 Evaluation

Published 1 January 2016

This report looks at the three year extension of the TBSBS scheme and whether it achieved its aims.

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