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Heritage bodies announce shared commitment to skills training

Several leading organisations behind the drive to preserve and maintain the built heritage met in Westminster on 31 March under the auspices of Sir Patrick Cormack’s Arts and Heritage All Party Parliamentary Group, to launch a shared commitment to promote the highest possible standards and best practice in the built heritage workforce.

Developed by ConstructionSkills, English Heritage and the NHTG in consultation with the Arts and Heritage APPG, the memorandum provides a common understanding to strengthen and build upon the existing commitments of the partners in this field.
There are more than five million pre-1919 buildings and structures in England, accounting for approximately 20% of the total building stock.
Last year the first CSCS heritage skills cards were awarded, demonstrating that workers have the skills and training they need to work safely on historic buildings. It is hoped that it will have a major role to play in qualifying the workforce and supporting the commitments set out in the memorandum.
The areas of agreement in the memorandum are:
• A commitment to the highest possible standards.
• A fully-qualified and skilled built heritage workforce.
• Improved understanding of traditional building materials and appropriate repair and maintenance techniques.
• Promoting the value of maintaining the built heritage within the climate change, sustainability, energy efficiency and regeneration agendas.
Sir Michael Latham, chair of ConstructionSkills, said: “The memorandum is a first step. We all hope that, by taking the lead in creating this memorandum, we send out a message to the industry at large that our built heritage sector must not be taken for granted. Further to this, if we are to maintain it for future generations, there needs to be common areas of agreement which are championed from the highest levels to all of industry.”
Sir Patrick Cormack added: “The survival of the crafts is essential if we are to maintain our built heritage. Everyone who cares about historic buildings should care equally about the crafts and the people upon whose skill and dedication we depend. I believe that this memorandum will help reinforce not only the need for the crafts but also the strength of Parliamentary support for them.”
Mike Moody is chairman of the National Heritage Training Group and managing director of Classic Masonry Ltd, stated: “As an employer in the sector I know too well the value and importance of retaining a skilled workforce. This is essential if we are to maintain the highest possible standards of workmanship, as well as remaining commercially successful. The work of the NHTG has already helped reduce the skills shortage, but we now hope to embed the best practice we have championed by promoting this shared agreement more widely throughout the construction industry.”



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