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Ecclesiastical & Heritage World Nimrod
Investing now in the future of our heritage PDF Print E-mail

18-year-old John Ashurst from Hartlepool is looking forward to a fascinating and rewarding career after becoming the first to begin training under the groundbreaking Heritage Skills Apprenticeship Project with Heritage Craft Alliance.

The project is being piloted by Hartlepool Council in partnership with the other Tees Valley local authorities, Hartlepool College of Further Education, the private and public sector Local Enterprise Partnership Tees Valley Unlimited and Heritage Craft Alliance – a specialist training organisation dedicated to preserving historic buildings and the crafts and skills which maintain them.

The scheme aims to increase the number of qualified craftspeople in the Tees Valley to help conserve and restore the area’s traditional pre-1919 buildings.

Up to 40 16-18 year old apprentices from the Tees Valley will be sponsored and employed by local companies in the heritage and construction sector for the next two years.

The programme is open to young people who already have Level 2 or higher in the Construction Crafts Diploma. Over the two years they will gain a Level 3 Heritage Crafts qualification in traditional heritage and conservation building skills such as masonry, timber roofing, carpentry and joinery through Hartlepool College of Further Education in conjunction with the Heritage Craft Alliance. The training is paid for by the Skills Funding Agency.

As well as helping to support the future of their industry and the heritage of their area, there are other major incentives for employers to take part, including an opportunity to be at the forefront of conservation contracts, a 50% apprenticeship wage subsidy for the first year of the young person’s employment and support to help existing employees to gain the industry’s standard accreditation, the Heritage Gold Card.

John Ashurst will be serving his apprenticeship with Ben Hutchinson of traditional building firm BJS Builders of Greatham, near Hartlepool, which has an established reputation in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings across the North-East.

John originally undertook our SQA Level 2 Diploma in Heritage Skills, and as a consequence has now joined the Heritage Skills Apprenticeships project. He says: “This is an opportunity which I wouldn’t have missed for the world. The thought of helping to preserve our wonderful old buildings for future generations to enjoy is very exciting and fills me with a lot of pride.”

Other Heritage Craft Alliance students on John's course are also in the process of undertaking work placements with a range of companies in the area.

For further information about the Heritage Skills Apprenticeship Project contact Glenn or Jude on 01677 244489 or email


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