Skills shortages threaten England's historic buildings, says report
England's historic buildings are under threat from a shortage of skilled craftspeople. That’s according to research into the labour and skills situation in the built heritage sector, published by the National Heritage Training Group.
However, with nearly a quarter of contractors having outstanding vacancies and the workload ever increasing, the industry needs to recruit an additional 6,500 people in the next 12 months just to meet immediate demand.
“The message is very clear: it is time for joined-up thinking and concerted action across the construction industry, the built heritage sector, educational establishments, careers organisations, funding bodies and government departments to tackle a vital issue that is at the heart of sustaining two things which people hold very dear in this country – beautiful historic buildings and the craftsmanship that maintains them."
Peter Lobban, Chief Executive of ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry, added: "In order to preserve our country's historic buildings, it will be equally important to maintain our crafts people’s historic skills.
“Although it's reassuring to know that many clients are happy with the skills out there, it's clear that lack of necessary craft training in some areas is potentially having a knock-on effect on our built heritage. As the Sector Skills Council for the industry, we'll be working with English Heritage and others within the sector to ensure that we have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time to maintain these significant buildings and ensure that some of our more vulnerable trades don't die out."
* Supporting the need for parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes
* Campaigning to raise the profile of vocational training and the built heritage sector and to attract more young people to pursue careers within it
* Securing funding for a heritage conservation qualification at NVQ Level 3 and adult apprenticeships
* Developing a rolling programme for 'Training the Trainers' to improve delivery of conservation, repair and maintenance at NVQ Level 3
* Developing current and new qualifications to ensure traditional building craft practical knowledge and skills can be gained from GCSE to Master Craft level
* Supporting the development of regional training centres of excellence, based upon the COVE network and an approved network of training provision
* Working with professional institutions to promote good practice in using a suitably skilled and qualified workforce
* Supporting the Trade Federations, Chartered Institute of Builders and DTI to implement a Quality Scheme to provide consumer protection from poor work by unqualified people
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