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Innovative New Scheme Forges Path for Next Generation of Builders

By May 13, 2024No Comments
Photograph of a pair of hands inserting a brick into a hole in a brick wall.

The Sussex Heritage Trust announced today significant support for young people looking to build a career in the construction industry.

Funded by the South Downs National Park Authority and the Sustainable Communities Fund – South Downs Trust, this innovative new scheme will encourage the next generation of builders into exciting new careers in building conservation.

Working in partnership with Weald and Downland Living Museum and Chichester College Group, the Sussex Heritage Trust will offer 40 young people from colleges across West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, a ‘Taster Day’ opportunity to try out four building conservation crafts at the Museum on 4th June 2024.

The timing couldn’t be more important: in 2023 Heritage Crafts published the fourth edition of its ground-breaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank the UK’s traditional crafts by the likelihood that they will survive into the next generation.  The report assessed over 250 crafts to identify which were at greatest risk of disappearing.  Shockingly over 40 building conservation crafts appear on this list, with skills such as brickmaking and traditional stained-glass window-making marked as endangered or critically endangered.

The day at the Weald and Downland Museum will offer a ‘taste’ of four different heritage crafts: Practical Timber Repairs, Brickmaking, Hurdle Making and Wattle & Daub.  These four skills alone are fundamental for the future protection of Sussex’s historic buildings and landscape.

Helen Reeve, CEO of the Trust says ‘Sussex Heritage Trust wants to show young builders that there are careers and opportunities in the building conservation sectors. A critical part of this project is working with the industry to develop a professional pathway through apprenticeships and work placements, as well as our own bursary scheme, to support these young people into work.’

Tim Slaney, Chief Executive (Interim) of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “’It is wonderful to be able, in partnership, to provide opportunities for young people to gain skills relating to the historic environment of the National Park

“Our approach to the built environment in the National Park is landscape-led and a key aspect of this is incorporating traditional materials and construction methods that respond to a location, its history and landscape features.

“The heritage within the National Park’s towns and villages is extraordinary – with over 160 conservation areas, more than any other National Park in the UK, and more than 5,800 listed buildings.

“It’s wonderful to be helping the next generation of building conservation craftsmen and women who will be vital to keeping this region so special.”

To find out more about the Sussex Heritage Trust and the ‘Taster Day’, as well as our educational bursaries offering short courses in building conservation crafts go to

Image copyright: Weald and Downland Living Museum

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