Horticulture groups among winners of Heritage Lottery Fund's £17m skills training programme

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is to spend £17m on skills training under its Skills for the Future programme, which is designed to deliver 808 placements and the equivalent of 780 years' worth of paid heritage training.

Image: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Image: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Among the 54 organisations that have won money include Trees for Cities, the Garden Museum, BCTV Scotland, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Wildwood Trust, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and the National Trust,

The HLF said the scheme will not only support traditional conservation training but also a wide variety of more contemporary skills, such as managing volunteers and using social media to get people involved in heritage, that will help reinvigorate and broaden the appeal of the heritage industry to job-seekers.

Skills for the Future launched in 2009.

HLF chair Dame Jenny Abramsky said: "When the recession kicked-in last year we thought very hard about how the Heritage Lottery Fund could make a difference to people's lives at a time of real need. The answer was an innovative and ambitious programme focusing on equipping people with practical skills to help them secure future employment.

"We have been astounded by the response which clearly shows a great hunger for skills training within our sector.  We're delighted to be supporting 54 projects - from learning how to digitise archives to conserving historic gardens - and we know that the range of placements on offer will attract people who might not previously have considered working in heritage."

Tourism and Heritage minister John Penrose MP said: "This investment is a great way of giving people access to practical on-the-job training, at a time when we need to do all we can to give people a helping hand to follow their careers.  Making sure we have a skilled workforce for the future will also help to protect the very best heritage from our past, and I'm pleased this scheme will benefit projects in all corners of the UK."

Skills for the Future offers work-based training in a wide range of skills that are needed to look after buildings, landscapes, habitats, species, and museum and archive collections, as well as equipping people to lead education and outreach programmes, manage volunteers and use new technology. 

Its focus is on vocational learning, helping meet the skills gaps identified by heritage bodies, and on encouraging potential trainees from all walks of life.  Trainees will learn how to engage families, schools and communities with their heritage, bringing heritage sites and collections alive for the next generation.

Skills for the Future is complementary to HLF's existing £10m Training Bursary Programme which has been running for the past four years delivering a wide range of skills training - including blacksmithing, botanic gardening, stone masonry, thatching and book conservation. More than 700 placements have been created providing accredited work-based training with highly-skilled crafts people and environmental specialists. In combination with the Skills for the Future placements, this means that over 1,500 training opportunities have been created by HLF.

See www.hlf.org.uk/skills for details. Placements with these organisations will start towards the end of 2010/beginning of 2011.

For details of the 54 projects click on the attachment below.

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