Funding looks to address heritage skills gap

Leeds City Council has been awarded £810,000 to fund training and support around heritage and construction skills in the city.

The project will be delivered in partnership with Leeds College of Building and York College and will focus on developing the practical heritage skills required to maintain, repair and refurbish pre-1919 residential, commercial and institutional properties in Leeds.

The money has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Skills for the Future programme for the Re-making Leeds project which will begin in September 2014.

At present there are heritage skills shortages in areas such as stone masonry, lime plastering and joinery.

The project will address this through work-based training along with offering project management and building information modelling training to develop team working and communication skills.

Although the focus will be on training 18-24 year olds after completing a general construction qualification, the project will also encourage interest from other people with a general construction background.

The project will also work with small to medium sized construction companies (SME’s) who would like to develop their heritage skills base and who are willing to accommodate a trainee.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council's executive board member for leisure and skills said:

“This is a great opportunity to boost the employment potential of the city, whilst preserving our built heritage.

"This long awaited project will be put to use not only to address the heritage skills shortage but to ultimately provide a workforce to deal with many of Leeds’ important buildings which require attention so they can be enjoyed by all”.

Kevin Clancy, York College’s head of construction said:

“Offering construction trainees the opportunity to develop specific heritage skills is vital if we are to continue to appropriately maintain our wonderful local buildings for future generations.”

Ian Billyard, Leeds College of Building principal said:

“With over 26 million pre 1919 buildings in the UK it's important that we don't lose the skills to sustain our built heritage environment.

"Whether it's a Grade 1 listed building or a 19th Century terraced house it is vital that they are maintained properly.

"This is particularly important when owners choose to retro-fit their properties to reduce energy costs or to extend.

"The Heritage Lottery Fund bid will provide a great opportunity to ensure these vital skills are not lost but developed for the benefits of all residents in Leeds."


Notes to Editors

•Launched in July 2009, Skills for the Future is an HLF programme supporting organisations across the UK to develop vocational learning programmes. HLF has awarded grants totalling £47m under this programme enabling high-quality work-based training, the development of new qualifications and capacity building in the sector.

• Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with £5.4bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk. For further information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: (020) 7591 6036 out of hours mobile: 07973 613820.

•Confirmation of the funding has come today following an earlier provisional approval, subject to the development of a training plan, in June 2013.

• Only about one in four applications to the Skills for the Future programme were approved and Leeds’ award is one of the largest nationally.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk