A new higher-level apprenticeship programme which will develop the knowledge and capabilities of the next generation of heritage workers, to help protect and secure the nation’s historic environment for years to come, is now in place.

Funded by a grant from Allchurches Trust, six new members of staff have started a two-year+ programme. They will be supporting the teams in Historic England’s regional offices as they care for the region’s historic buildings, landscapes and archaeological remains.

As an apprentice Historic Environment Advice Assistant, the early careers professionals will be working on protecting heritage at risk in the region, learning how grant funding can save historic sites and advising local authorities on planning applications. They will work closely with the listing teams, seeing how they assess which historic buildings should receive legal protection in the future.

The apprentices will also be undertaking formal training delivered through Historic England’s training partner, Strode College. This will involve several residential training workshops at Strode College, Somerset as well as at Historic England regional offices in Swindon, Birmingham and York. This will offer apprentices the chance to engage with the latest archaeological equipment and technology, as well as getting hands-on practical experience during activities and site visits. Training will involve challenging assignments and extensive e-learning tasks that will supplement the time the apprentices spend at work.

Historic England is pleased to be taking on its very first cohort of apprentices undertaking a completely new training programme based on new apprenticeship standards; and is proud to be pioneering this for the heritage sector.

The Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprenticeship qualification is one of six new heritage apprenticeship standards launched this year. The qualifications have been designed by employers, training providers and professional bodies from across the heritage sector, to meet demand for skilled historic environment advice, archaeology and conservation professionals, and to train a new generation of professionals to conserve and care for the country’s special historic places.

Apprentices will work 30+ hours per week, with 80% of training on-the-job and 20% off-the-job. Historic England is encouraging public and private sector employers around the country to use these new standards as a route to take on the ambitious early careers professionals who will go on to drive the future success of the heritage sector.

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. We’re passionate about protecting the UK and Ireland’s rich history and ensuring it can be enjoyed by future generations. That’s why we were delighted to have been able to support this innovative Historic England programme under our new heritage grants stream. It will see current historic environmental specialists pass on their rich knowledge and skills to apprentices who will be the future of the heritage sector. We wish them all the best as they get their exciting journey underway.”

Katy Quinn, Principal and CEO of Strode College said:

“This exciting new higher apprenticeship programme is a fantastic example of a high quality partnership between two outstanding organisations. It also represents the true spirit of how the new, employer driven apprenticeships can really add value to an organisation, provide new routes into the industry and help to diversify the workforce. We are delighted to have been selected by Historic England as their delivery partner and hope this is the start of a fruitful and long standing relationship.

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions for Historic England said:

“Heritage makes a huge contribution to the country’s economy, but we need a pipeline of skilled people to make the most of it. This programme is a valuable opportunity for us to show employers that apprenticeship schemes are a brilliant way to attract a wider and more diverse range of people to our sector; as well as providing excellent opportunities to “up-skill” our existing early careers workforce.

“We are delighted to have our six new recruits on board, and thank Allchurches Trust for enabling that through their generous grant. We look forward to working with our training partners Strode College on what will be a unique and exciting programme of learning.”

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