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Minister marks masonry students' success

25 November 2008

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani today (Tuesday 25 November) met construction trainees who have benefited from a partnership between Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The trainees were given bursaries to support them while they undertook the National Progression Award in the Conservation of Masonry.

The Minister said: “It has been recognised that there is a shortage of workers with the knowledge and training to work on traditional buildings. This work accounts for nearly half of all construction projects in Scotland and makes a huge contribution to our economy.

“Last year I launched a new qualification that addressed this shortfall and it is wonderful to be able to meet the trainees and see for myself how this is making a difference. Every person that took part in the National Progression Award in the Conservation of Masonry course has gained valuable experience and is now working, either with the companies that they trained with or elsewhere in the sector.”

Jo Reilly, Head of Participation and Learning at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Conservation and people lie at the heart of our work at the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Four years ago we launched a traditional skills bursary programme in response to the urgent need to provide on-the-job training opportunities for people working in heritage settings.  It has been hugely successful and through it we're delighted to be supporting Historic Scotland's Masonry Conservation bursary scheme which is offering high quality training to people of all ages and backgrounds and helping to secure our buildings for the future."   

The Minister met Garry MacDonald, Mark McFadden, David Box and Mark McAurther who took part in the course which combined on-the-job training with contractors with tuition at Glasgow Metropolitan College. The employers taking part included Darroch & Allan, John McLean Stone Masonry and Historic Scotland.

Garry MacDonald has just completed his year-long bursary placement with Darroch & Allan, based in Elgin.  He is now employed by them full-time and is working on a project for Gordon & McPhail.

Garry said: “The bursary project has allowed me to get into the masonry industry after working in paving and dry stone walling. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Darroch & Allan and gained a great deal of experience.”

The Minister added: “Scotland has been blessed with a legacy of wonderful historic buildings and now these young men will play a crucial part in maintaining them. I have been very impressed to meet the trainees and contractors to see how committed they are to their work. They are proof that people have a very real interest in their environment and can find fulfilling careers through that and I wish them all the best for the future.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Enterprise provided £1 million and £600,000 respectively for the bursary scheme run by Historic Scotland. Trainees are supported financially by the scheme throughout their course.

Notes for editors

  • Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4 billion across the UK.  Website:  For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF Press Office, on tel: 020 7591 6036 mobile: 07973 613820.

  • 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. For more information visit

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873