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New Heritage Apprenticeships Launched to Meet Demand for Skilled Professionals Around the Country

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New Heritage Apprenticeships Launched to Meet Demand for Skilled Professionals Around the Country

  • Six heritage apprenticeship standards launching in 2019
  • Historic England calls on training providers to take advantage of commercial opportunity to deliver new apprenticeships
  • Schemes aim to meet demand for roles in archaeology, conservation and historic environment advice
  • Recruits will achieve qualifications equivalent to A-level, foundation degree and master’s degree through full-time workplace experience
  • Generous grant from Allchurches Trust will support six apprentices at Historic England’s regional offices

Historic England has published details of six new heritage apprenticeships that will be available to training providers and employers in 2019. They are designed to train an increasingly diverse new generation of skilled professionals to care for, conserve and manage the country’s heritage and historic environment.

The apprenticeships have been developed by the Historic Environment Trailblazer: a group of 70+ heritage sector organisations, chaired by Historic England. It includes employers of all sizes from both the commercial and public sector including Cullen Conservation, Mott MacDonald, the V&A and National Trust, and professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and training providers such as Salford University.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive at Historic England, said:

“We’re at a critical point in terms of the labour market for the heritage sector. We need to attract fresh talent to meet the very real demand out there from both commercial and public sector employers. These apprenticeship schemes are a huge step forward in terms of the sector’s ability to recruit and train a diverse new generation of professionals. We look forward to supporting training providers all around the country as they help us develop the young people who will progress on to career success in the range of interesting, varied and incredibly satisfying roles the sector has to offer.”

These apprenticeships span a range of job roles in the sector and cover archaeology, conservation, and advising on the historic environment. They are set at levels 3 and 4 (equivalent to A level and foundation degree respectively) and level 7 (equivalent to and including a master’s degree).

The apprenticeships will involve 20% off-the-job and 80% on-the-job training, and will comprise 30+ hours per week, over a period of 12 months or more. Employers of all sizes will be able to recruit apprentices, through their own advertising channels, via the Find an Apprenticeship service and through partnerships with training providers who, as well as helping to find roles for young people with employers, will provide ongoing pastoral support.

The level 3 and 4 apprenticeships are now approved or at the final stage of approval, with the level 7 apprenticeships to soon follow. Historic England is calling on training providers around the country to develop, offer and deliver the 20% off-the-job training components of these new apprenticeships.

A growing labour market need

The heritage sector plays a significant role in England’s economy adding value of £29bn and generating over 459,000 jobs.

Recent reports have established real demand for new recruits and skilled specialists from the sector, for example estimating that between 2015 and 2033 the numbers of archaeologists available will need to increase by between 25-64% to staff planned infrastructure projects.

Historic England expects demand for new apprentices from employers including local authorities, national parks, commercial companies and organisations engaged in major infrastructure projects including HS2 and Crossrail, amongst others.

In recent years numerous studies have identified skills shortages in the heritage sector: nearly half of organisations across the historic environment and cultural heritage sector report they are lacking skills and a similar number feel skills and knowledge will soon be lost from the workforce without being replaced.

Major opportunity for training providers

The Trailblazer has achieved healthy funding bands for the new apprenticeships, making them a solid commercial proposition for training providers. Funding bands determine the amounts payable from employers to training providers to deliver training for each new apprenticeship. Employers receive grants from government, funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, to pay for training in each apprenticeship.

Training providers may find that their existing courses do not map directly onto the new apprenticeship standards. Where gaps exist, Historic England plans to explore opportunities to work in partnership with providers to help them deliver specialist heritage content.

The new standards offer opportunity for significant innovation in blended learning training delivery, likely to consist of a mix of site-based training, e-learning modules and webinars. They will also provide an attractive remote delivery model that will enable training providers to work with employers and apprentices far beyond their traditional catchment areas.

What happens next?

Historic England is encouraging training providers to:

  • Build the new heritage apprenticeships into their business and curricular plans
  • Visit the standards section of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website to review the standards in development
  • Map existing training content to the new standards and consider how they will best deliver training for the new apprenticeships
  • If not already registered, apply to join the government’s register of apprenticeship training providers
  • Consider possible options for endpoint assessment, for example working with existing independent assessment partners or contracting directly with one of the heritage sector’s professional bodies
  • Email Historic England to express interest in leading on heritage apprenticeships

Leading by example

Historic England has recently secured a generous grant from Allchurches Trust – one of the UK’s largest grant-giving charities – to support six apprentices on the level 4 Historic Environment Advice Assistant scheme. The new recruits will be based at Historic England’s regional offices around the country.

Historic England will not only provide advice and guidance to the sector but also lead prospective employers and training providers by example as they prepare to recruit and train apprentices. These apprenticeships will be open for application from May.

Chairman of Allchurches Trust, Sir Philip Mawer, said:

“As a Trust, we are passionate about protecting the UK and Ireland’s rich history. 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.”

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