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Cabinet Secretary celebrates Scottish Apprenticeship Week at Edinburgh Castle

21 May 2012

                                       Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop with apprentices who have trained at Edinburgh’s Telford College demonstrating traditional skills at Edinburgh Castle to mark National Apprentice Week. From left, Gary Maxwell (32) from B&D Roofing, Martin Black (18) from B&D Roofing, Stewart Ogilvie (20) from St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop, Tony Walker (19) from Historic Scotland, Billy Reid (32) from Historic Scotland and Craig Leadbetter (21) from Forth Stone Ltd.

Historic Scotland is celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2012 with a demonstration of traditional building skills at Edinburgh Castle, which was launched today by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

As the nation’s biggest employer of stonemasonry apprentices, Historic Scotland is one of 12,000 organisations and businesses which together are helping to train 34,000 people around the country.

The two-day demonstration event at Edinburgh Castle is at the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which runs from May 21st to 25th, will showcase the work of apprentices to Castle visitors through demonstrations of stonemasonry and roofing.

Ms Hyslop also met the current intake of traditional building skills apprentices working with Historic Scotland.

The agency has organised the event in partnership with Construction Skills, Telford College, The National Federation of Roofing Contractors, and the Stone Federation of Great Britain.

Ms Hyslop said: “Apprentices working in the traditional skills sector are contributing to the future of Scotland’s historic environment, which adds more than £2.3 billion to the Scottish economy annually and is a key factor in ensuring sustained economic growth.

“Traditional buildings form a major part of Scotland’s historic environment, and it is important we retain and increase the quality of these building skills to maintain our built heritage asset “.

There are over 400,000 traditionally constructed buildings in Scotland, and the repair and maintenance sector in construction is important to their survival.

Ms Hyslop added: “Historic Scotland is driving the traditional skills agenda with vigour, in recognition of the importance of sustaining these skills for existing buildings. Traditional forms of materials and construction can also tell us much about building the sustainable properties of the future. This event is a great showcase for the work that Historic Scotland and the wider sector does in caring for our traditional buildings.”

Led by Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Apprenticeship Week features business breakfasts, networking events, skills demonstrations and management job swaps across the country. Also involved are colleges, local authorities and learning providers.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week helps celebrate the valuable traditional building skills that are essential to the nation’s future well-being and prosperity.”

Employers can find out how they can access support to help them to employ apprentices by calling the SDS helpline on 0800 783 6000 or going onto their website

Historic Scotland’s commitment to sustaining traditional buildings will be reinforced later this year at a ministerial summit to be held in Stirling.

Ms Hyslop will chair the event at Forth Valley College in Stirling, on September 25th, when key figures in the sector will discuss methods of increasing the demand for traditional building skills as part of the Scottish Government’s Traditional Building Skills Strategy launched in 2011.

The Summit and the projects it will launch are aligned with Government policies on youth employment, sustainable housing, climate change and regeneration, and the wider goal of sustainable economic growth.

Notes for editors

  1. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  2. Register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email   

  3. The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  4. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                              Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805