Historic Environment Skills was a National Lottery Heritage Fund, Skills for the Future funded project that offered hands-on training in skills needed to maintain and protect the historic environment. It was based in Lincolnshire with the ability to work throughout the East Midlands and delivered through a partnership between Lincolnshire County Council’s Heritage Skills Centre, Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire and Lincoln Cathedral.
The project delivered training bursaries that aimed to allow those who have a genuine interest in the historic environment but have little experience the chance to gain the traditional and specialist skills needed to pursue a career in the sector. Since permission for the project to start recruitment and activities was given in 2018 there have been 28 traineeships. The project continued to run and support trainees in host organisations throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, with the last trainees finishing in early 2022, shortly before the project itself came to a close.
Throughout the project, Historic Environment Skills worked with a variety of placement hosts to support traineeships in archaeology, masonry, joinery, slate making, lime plastering, heritage roofing, leadwork, coir matting, practical historic building conservation as well as digital engagement, historic environment advice and building preservation management.
For the majority of Historic Environment Skills trainees, their placements lasted 12 months, with some placements lasting 18-24 months to allow for specific qualifications relevant to the core skill of the traineeship. With a focus on practical learning in the work environment, even as Covid was changing things in the sector Historic Environment Skills was able to continue to support trainees already on the program and adapt the future traineeships so that shorter placements could be offered. The shortest of these was a grouping of 3 six week placements on a site benefiting from the Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund, administered by Historic England. However, the majority were adapted to six and nine-month traineeships which were also as successful as the longer placements in seeing trainees take their experience into further work or training in the sector. By the end of the project, 25 of the Historic Environment Skills traineeships saw trainees either continue working in the sector or studying in the sector.
Raising the profile and awareness of jobs within the historic environment sector was something that Historic Environment Skills hoped to do alongside promoting the traineeships. A core part of the project's early engagement was hands-on taster sessions in the bursaries being offered so that people got a feel for what the traineeships could involve. Additionally, the project team visited local shows and skills events prior to the covid 19 pandemic and engaged with members of the public alongside partners. After the first trainees were recruited they became a core part of these events and relished showing off their skills. They were part of events like the Lincoln Castle 2019 Joust and the Skills Festival that the project ran in 2019. When Covid meant that public events weren’t deemed possible trainee involvement moved to films and social media takeovers where they were still able to share their growing skills. Several of the trainees also wrote blogs to capture their experience and provide some insight into what training in these skills is like, and these remain available to you through the links below. The project also created an online tool to provide an entry-level view into a variety of historic buildings and the skills and knowledge required to maintain, protect and conserve them for future generations.
Explore the HES Project
Use the circle to explore some of the brilliant things the trainees got up to whilst on placement as part of the project.
From archaeology to stonemasonry, digital engagement to carpentry, the project brought important heritage skills to the forefront.
Meet the Trainees
Traditional Skills Resource