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Strong support to save traditional skills in heritage sector

A survey by Historic Environment Scotland found strong support for preserving traditional skills and jobs to protect Scotland's historic properties

A recent survey conducted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has found that there is significant support for the preservation of traditional skills and jobs required to protect Scotland’s historic buildings and properties.

The survey revealed that 83% of respondents believe it is important to preserve traditional skills such as stonemasonry, thatching, and metalwork. Additionally, almost all respondents (96%) expressed an interest in learning skills related to the heritage sector.

The research was conducted to coincide with a new campaign launched today by HES to promote the traditional and emerging skills needed for the country’s heritage sector, which also ties in with Scottish Apprenticeship Week. The ‘I Make History’ campaign features real employees from across the heritage organisation in a mix of traditional and modern roles.

Most respondents (83%) placed importance on traditional skills being taught in schools. As a demographic, young people surveyed are most interested in learning stonemasonry (35%), closely followed by digital scanning and blacksmith skills (31%), conservation techniques (30%) and thatching (30%), with 18-24-year-olds, in particular, thinking it’s important to preserve traditional skills with almost 65 per cent (64.75%) interested in a career in the heritage sector.

Alex Paterson, chief executive at HES said: “This survey shows that the traditional skills and jobs we need to keep our heritage alive are valued and desirable as career choices. It demonstrates the broader impact of heritage on the Scottish economy and job opportunities, as well as the links to net zero and sustainability targets. It’s vital that we support and protect these skills and appreciate the importance they have on our past, as well as helping shape our future.”

HES is a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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