Meet the HES Trainees

Trainees on the project came from all kinds of backgrounds to learn about heritage skills with the HES Project.

From university to customer service roles, trainees all had varying levels of knowledge and experience within the sector.

The Historic Environment Skills (HES) programme engaged people across Lincolnshire and the East Midlands in the skills needed to conserve, protect and help the public engage with their heritage including: archaeology, traditional building skills, project management for building preservation trusts and engagement. This project started in Spring 2018 and completed in November 2021.



Stonemasonry (Lincoln Cathedral)
Alex joined the HES project in 2018. He had some previous experience as Mason having done some work with the National Trust previously and started his official stonemasonry studies. This meant that he was able to start on his NVQ Level 3 at York College, which he completed successfully. One of Alex’s highlights was attending the European Stone Carving Festival 2019 in Trondheim with other masonry trainees at the Cathedral. He enjoyed demonstrating his skills and being part of craft events. Upon finishing his traineeship Alex moved to York to continue working as a stonemason – a craft he is very passionate about.


Archaeology (Archaeological Project Services)
Asa joined the Historic Environment Skills project in 2018 on a placement with APS after studying Classics & Archaeology at university where he said the Archaeology side was more theory than practice. He became a valuable member of the team during his placement, working on his BAJR Skills Passport, his NVQ Level 3 in Archaeology and gaining plenty of experiences at excavations, community engagement activities and research. Asa enjoyed getting to know the other trainees on the Historic Environment Skills project and taking part in the additional skills builders run which allowed the trainees to get some practical understanding of skills beyond their placement. Following his traineeship Asa remained with APS working as a Site Assistant.


Heritage Plastering (Messenger BCR)
Arran has been looking at ways to start a career in traditional plastering after helping to restore an old cottage and discovering a passion for lime plaster! He self-funded a gypsum plastering course in Newark, but has otherwise been working temporary office jobs while he has been searching for a career that will let him use his hands. He joined Historic Environment Skills as a trainee in 2019 and spent his time working with lime, which he used to create some decorative cornices among other things. He found taking part in the public events where he shared his increasing heritage skills good for his confidence and enjoyed meeting the other trainees. Following his placement Arran continues to work as a heritage plasterer. 


Rachael - Stonemasonry (Lincoln Cathedral)
Rachael was initially on an 18 month placement with Lincoln Cathedral which began in 2018. She was later awarded a second placement to remain with Lincoln Cathedral for another 18 months. During this time she has flourished and has come to greatly enjoy sharing her craft at public events. You can continue to view her journey as a stone mason through her active Instagram account  thegingermason.  Amongst other opportunities Rachael studied at York College for her NVQ Level 2 and later Level 3 in Stonemasonry; where she was recognised as Apprentice of the Year in 2018.Before starting with Historic Environment Skills Rachael had tried several different careers and has said that she has now found her career for life and really loves working at the Cathedral; “it’s like a hobby but I’m paid to do it”. Following her Historic Environment Skills traineeship she received funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation which is supporting her through her Cathedral Workshop Fellowship.


Historic Building Conservation (Millstone Restoration)
   Cameron heard about the placement through friends and was inspired to apply having found a passion for old buildings after living in Lincoln. His traineeship will take him to many old churches across Lincolnshire, and further afield, where he will learn how to restore and conserve them. He will also learn more about the Lincolnshire vernacular technique of mud and stud, which is the base behind historical earth building in the county. His mentor, Trevor, is the Chairman of the East Midlands Earth Structure Society (EMESS) so Cameron has the unique opportunity to be involved in several research projects usijng mud and stud.


Slate Roofing (Messenger BCR)
Genc had been working in retail, but wanted a career change that would allow him to be proud of his work. His traineeship will specialise in a traditional building material that is now fairly rare, Collyweston slate. Only mined in two places in the UK, both in Lincolnshire, Genc will learn how to cut and shape this unique slate (actually a limestone that needs to be frozen before splitting) and then lay it, which is a specialism all on its own. According to his mentor, Darren, once you know how to use Collyweston Slate, you can work any kind of roofing!


Heritage Joinery (Jericho Joinery)
Graham had been working as a chef in Lincoln since leaving school and has said how happy and excited he is to learn a trade and work on beautiful heritage sites, such as Nottingham Castle. He has been learning how to repair the wooden frames of one of the castle's bandstand sash windows, which are eight feet across. He has helped HES at a Skills & Job Fair in Stamford as well as Construction Week at Lincolnshire Showground. Recently, he has been on a timber frame repair course where he learnt how to replace old and rotten beams in a traditional farmhouse.  
Laabiyah pointing


Building Preservation Trust Management (Heritage Lincolnshire)
Laabiyah is working towards her IHBC Associate Membership alongside her mentor, Kathryn. She has been learning all about how Building Trusts works and has done some fantastic project work, which includes research, report writing, public consultations and sometimes, even some practical conservation. Coming from a work placement at Historic England, she has made a lot of progress since starting and has said that no week is ever the same.


Archaeology (Archaeological Project Services) 
Like Asa, Maeya has now completed her twelve month placement after being awarded her NVQ Level 3 in Archaeology. Maeya is now studying towards her Bachelor of Science degree in Archaeology at the University of York and greatly appreciates the practical experience that she gained during her placement. If you've ever wondered what Archaeologists do on an average day, Maeya is a good person to ask!
Tim first day


Historic Environment Advice Assistant (Lincolnshire County Council)
Tim had been working as a technical assistant to the council's Historic Places team, but, during his time there, he has picked up an interest in archaeology and conservation from his colleagues. He will be one of a small group of pioneers who are on the Historic England Trailblazers Apprenticeship scheme for the first time this year. He will learn all about conservation with the idea that he will become qualified and be able to fulfil the position of Historic Environment Advice Assistant.


Joinery (Lincoln Cathedral)
Victoria began working with the Cathedral's Joinery team in July 2018 too and has been working towards her NVQ Level 2 in Joinery at North Notts College. She has also been managing to study for her Masters in Conservation at the University of Lincoln concurrently and has been a very enthusiastic HES trainee, helping with lots of events including Construction Week 2019.