The Heritage Building Skills Programme

This major project in the North of England is passing endangered heritage construction skills to the next generation and restoring historic buildings.

Three people repairing a brick wall.
Participants on the Heritage Building Skills Programme learning traditional techniques to repair pointing from Emma Simpson, a specialist in the conservation of traditional brickwork. © Historic England

The programme launched in 2021 and is encouraging more people to learn endangered crafts through training and apprenticeships.

The programme aims to

  • reduce shortages in heritage construction skills
  • improve historic sites in urgent need of repair
  • create career opportunities for disadvantaged young people 

How you can help

Please consider supporting our salaried traineeships, which provide participants with invaluable hands-on experience working on historic buildings, as well as training and mentoring by Historic England staff and sector experts, who teach a variety of technical skills in different disciplines and pass their knowledge on to the next generation. 

Get in touch with us to find out more: [email protected]

The programme so far

Since 2021 we have been delighted to work with dozens of participants across the different tiers of the programme, from entry-level building college students and apprentices to more experienced specialist craftspeople honing a new skill.

The programme is supporting apprentices to learn a wide range of specialist heritage techniques in trades such as:

  • bricklaying
  • carpentry
  • joinery
  • millwrights
  • mosaic and stained-glass conservation
  • painting and decorating
  • plastering
  • roofing
  • stonemasonry

Hear from one of our Participants

“It was a fantastic year and I met so many wonderful and interesting people, passionate and knowledgeable in their field. A very rare opportunity and employment experience I feel very grateful for. Thanks so much!”  Trainee mosaicist, 2023

A young person inspects a mosaic floor.
A stonemasonry conservation trainee works on restoring a mosaic in the baptistry of Chester Cathedral. test © Historic England

Summer School

The Summer School helps participants put the training element into practice via residential heritage construction training with specialists whilst providing much-needed repairs to important heritage sites. Summer School 2024 will take place in partnership with Churches Conservation Trust at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, a Heritage at Risk site in Lancashire.

This will enable participants to develop their skills, knowledge, and experience of working on complex, live, multi-trade construction sites, as well as gain new practical qualifications and connections within the industry.

Trainees participate in a woodworking workshop at the Heritage Building Skills Summer School. © Historic England.