A GROUNDBREAKING scheme which aims to increase the number of qualified craftspeople in the Tees Valley to help conserve and restore the area’s traditional pre-1919 buildings has signed up its first apprentice.
John Ashurst, 18 from Hartlepool, is looking forward to a new career after becoming the first to begin training under the Heritage Skills Apprenticeship Project.
The project is being piloted by Hartlepool Borough Council in partnership with the other Tees Valley local authorities, Hartlepool College of Further Education, the private and public sector Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and the Heritage Craft Alliance.
The aim is for up to 40 apprentices from the Tees Valley to be employed by local companies in the heritage and construction sector for the next two years. The programme is open to young people who already have Level 2 or higher in the Construction Crafts Diploma.
Over the two years they will gain a Level 3 Heritage Crafts qualification in traditional heritage and conservation building skills such as masonry, timber roofing, carpentry and joinery through Hartlepool College of Further Education in conjunction with the Heritage Craft Alliance.
John will be serving his apprenticeship with Ben Hutchinson of traditional building firm BJS Builders of Greatham, near Hartlepool.
John said: “This is an opportunity which I wouldn’t have missed for the world. The thought of helping to preserve our wonderful old buildings for future generations to enjoy is very exciting and fills me with a lot of pride.”
Labour councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s regeneration services committee, said: “I wish John all the best for a long and successful career.” For information about the project contact Caron Auckland on (01429) 284087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org