Trainees learning skills to preserve Leeds landmarks

Caption: Councillor Katherine Mitchell celebrates at Temple Newsam this week with new trainees and others.

A group of trainees will help preserve some of Leeds’s most historic buildings for future generations after completing a new learning programme.

The nine trainees are the first to complete their Level 2 Award in heritage construction, learning the traditional arts of stone masonry, lime plastering and specialist joinery.

After finishing the first stage of the Re-Making Leeds Heritage Construction Training Programme, they have taken their first step towards having the skills to repair and restore some of the city’s best-loved landmarks.

Their achievement was marked at a special celebration at Temple Newsam House on Nov 6, hosted by Councillor Katherine Mitchell, Leeds City Council’s lead member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills.

She said: “The people of Leeds are very proud of the city’s heritage and its rich history, and a key part of that is the fact that our city boasts so many iconic buildings.

“It’s incredibly important, therefore, that those buildings get the proper care and maintenance, but to do that, we need people living locally with the specialist training to carry the work out.

“The Re-Making Leeds programme will mean that we have enthusiastic, highly-trained young people equipped with the skills needed to ensure our buildings and our heritage are preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Re-Making Leeds is a three year programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and delivered in partnership by Leeds City Council, Leeds College of Building and York College.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“Congratulations to the first group of young people who have completed the initial stage in their skills training.

"The knowledge they have acquired is fundamental to the future care of our historic buildings and has also set them on a rewarding career path.”

Training for the programme will be provided by experts from Heritage Craft Alliance Ltd.

Managing director Glenn Young said:

“It is critical that projects like this one are supported. The ageing demograph of our traditional craftsmen is very worrying for the built heritage sector.

“We must continue to offer these points of access for younger people to enter the sector. We need to ensure younger people can develop their craft based careers, to match the skills we are quite rapidly losing.

“The students on the project will be learning both technical craft skills along with under pinning knowledge, which should set them well to pursue a career in the built heritage sector.”

Leeds currently has more than 3,000 listed buildings and 72 conservation areas.

The trainees will now begin to get on-the-job experience, helping maintain, repair and refurbish pre-1919 properties around the city.

And each year a new group of trainees, primarily made up of 18-24 year-olds who already have a general construction qualification will receive bursaries to complete a Level 2 Heritage Construction Award.

They will also get placements with heritage construction specialists.

The training programme also includes an NVQ Level 3 awards for those already working in the sector, training for people already in the construction industry and school engagement activities to promote the sector.

For more information about getting involved with Re-Making Leeds, please contact Sarah Neville, heritage construction skills development manager on 0113 39 57591 or email sarah.neville@leeds.gov.uk


For media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk


Notes to Editors:

The project Re-making Leeds: Heritage Construction Skills for the Future is supported by a grant of £810,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This is one of seven projects to date in Yorkshire and the Humber that have received £5.4 million from HLF’s Skills for the Future programme.