Back to the future : Traditional skills showcase
19 May 2014
Apprentices are encouraging the Edinburgh public to come see a range of traditional
skills being demonstrated at a two-day showcase in the capital.
Students from all over Scotland have taken over the city’s St Andrew’s Square as
part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014. Stalls have been set up for the nine students to deliver
demonstrations in traditional skills such roofing, stonemasonry, joinery, painting and decorating, and
Historic Scotland, which has organised the event along with a range of public and
private sector partners, has a strong commitment to offering opportunities, having recruited 58 traditional
building skills apprentices over the last six years. The two-day showcase is intended to raise awareness
of a career in these vital skills, as well highlighting the work being done to maintain the historic
Over the two days, members of the public are encouraged to meet the trainees as
they demonstrate their skills in customised display tents. Advisers are on hand to outline the opportunities
which exist within the sector for would-be apprentices, and to explain how to access the various schemes
available. Property owners may also be interested to hear advice on how using traditional methods and
materials can enhance their property.
David Welwood, Historic Scotland masonry apprentice said: “I love being an apprentice,
so it’s great to get the opportunity to meet people who might be interested in following the same career
path, and showing them what it’s all about”.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, who visited the
event, taking part in several of the demonstrations, said: “After meeting the apprentices today, I was
hugely encouraged by their enthusiasm for their trades as well as their appreciation of the fantastic
opportunities which these apprenticeships can offer.”
“Scotland has an incredible historic built environment, with over 400,000 traditionally
constructed buildings in the country. This heritage requires a huge amount of traditional skills expertise
to maintain and nurture it. Events like this serve to highlight the good work already been done to do
this but, more importantly, raises awareness of the need to attract the next generation of experts to
safeguard the future.”
The St Andrews Square event has being coordinated by Historic Scotland, in partnership
with Essential Edinburgh, Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, City of Edinburgh Council, the National Federation
of Roofing Contractors, Stone Federation Great Britain, National Specialist Contractors Council, CITB-ConstructionSkills
in Scotland, Edinburgh College and the Painting and Decorating Association.
Scottish Apprenticeship Week is led by Skills Development Scotland. Chief Executive,
Damien Yeates, said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week highlights the commitment of businesses that have
decided to invest in the skills of their workforce. The week also showcases the successes of apprentices
who have chosen to develop their careers by learning while working, to gain nationally recognised qualifications.
“Modern Apprenticeships are good for business, good for individuals and good for
the Scottish economy.”
Notes for editors:
- Scottish Apprenticeship Week – led by Skills Development Scotland - gives
individuals, employers, providers and stakeholders a chance to showcase apprenticeships and the benefits
they bring to Scotland’s businesses and economy. From May 19 to 23, there will be a national programme
of events as well as regional and local events across the country.
- Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged
with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers
and through them to the Scottish Parliament.
Follow Historic Scotland:
- Scotland welcomes the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 providing a year-long
programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland
will run until 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around
the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural
heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative
being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners. To find out more visit
www.homecomingscotland.com. For more on Historic Scotland’s Homecoming activities
visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/homecoming or tweet us using #hshomecoming.