Heritage skills project

Damien Wilson
Damien Wilson

INNOVATIVE plans to increase the number of qualified craftsmen could see dozens of apprenticeships created.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to develop a multi-million pound Heritage Skills Apprenticeship Project in partnership with the four other local authorities in the Tees Valley in a move which could see 36 roles created for youngsters aged between 16 and 18 who are not in education, employment or training.

The main objective is to conserve and repair public and privately owned historic buildings and structures, offer training opportunities to young people and create apprenticeships.

The scheme would also heavily involve Hartlepool College of Further Education, Heritage Craft Alliance, English Heritage and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is planned that a pilot scheme is developed over two years and councillors on the local authorities regeneration services committee will meet to discuss the project.

It would include 36 apprentices being employed for two years by Heritage Craft Alliance or other employers in traditional heritage and conservation in conjunction with the college.

To increase the number of apprentices within the heritage sector, Heritage Craft Alliance contacted the council to develop a scheme. Senior officers say it would require “substantial financial investment” and they are looking at potential funding streams.

A report by Damien Wilson, assistant director of regeneration, said: “There is a potential to submit a large scale Heritage Lottery Fund application for up to £5m. “Officers have explored this option and there is an opportunity to bid for this funding in April 2014. This will provide sufficient time in which to develop the project idea further with partners.”

The meeting will be held this Thursday at 9.30am at Hartlepool Civic Centre.

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