Future-proofing our rich heritage

Major funding for an exciting new Historic England programme will see Allchurches Trust step up its support for the protection and preservation of heritage skills.

The £471,000 grant over three years is being awarded under the Trust’s new heritage funding stream, which launches in January 2019. It is aimed at building sustainable skills to care for the nation’s historic environment – both ecclesiastical and secular.

The Trust has already identified the projects it will support first under the scheme, which will be worth half a million pounds annually. These include an exciting initiative that will enable Historic England (HE) to create six new Historic Environment Advice Assistant (HEAA) heritage apprenticeships.

These apprentices will be trained and supported in researching and providing advice on a vast range of heritage assets; including historic buildings, landscapes, monuments, archaeological sites and battlefields.

The HEAA programme, along with HE apprenticeships in archaeology and conversation which Michael Ellis MP outlined at last week’s Heritage Alliance Day (December 12th), will help to meet the rising demand for skilled heritage workers nationwide and to address the skills shortage fuelled by an ageing workforce and a lack of new entrants into the sector.

It will also pioneer the new heritage apprenticeship standards, set best practice for recruitment and training and make it easier for young people from all walks of life to find a way into the heritage workforce.

By the end of their training, the apprentices will be ready to take on roles with Historic England or its partners, ensuring continued skills investment in the country’s heritage management.

Allchurches Trust chairman, Sir Philip Mawer, said: “Over the years, we’ve been privileged to support so many incredible, inspirational projects aimed at preserving ecclesiastical heritage and opening up churches for wider community use and enjoyment.

“The introduction of this new heritage programme is a natural next step for us as a Trust that is passionate about protecting the UK and Ireland’s rich history and ensuring it can be enjoyed by future generations.

“We’re delighted to have been able to support this innovative Historic England programme, which will see current historic environmental specialists pass on their rich knowledge and skills to apprentices who will be the future of the heritage sector.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “This generous grant from Allchurches Trust will help to strengthen and support the future of the heritage workforce that cares for England’s spectacular historic environment for others to celebrate and enjoy. The programme will provide new routes into the heritage sector for young people from all backgrounds.

“We are very excited about taking on six new Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprentices at Historic England. They will be equipped with new skills and will learn lots from their colleagues who are fountains of knowledge. We look forward to hearing about their fresh ideas and new approaches that will help to improve how we work at Historic England and in the wider heritage sector.”