Fife Council invests in heritage skills training

Fife Council invests in heritage skills training

An encouraging 10% of bursary places were awarded to women

A new generation of skilled professionals with expert training in traditional construction crafts are ready to support historic buildings across Fife after successfully completing a range of specialist qualifications.

Inverkeithing’s Heritage Regeneration project is still underway, but one part of the project is now successfully completed. A bursary and mentoring programme has allowed 26 people to access training in traditional skills at contractor level, nine at professional level and seven individuals to work with an experienced mentor, to develop their careers over an extended period.

Centred in one of Fife’s oldest Royal Burghs, Inverkeithing’s Heritage Regeneration is a Fife Council project, with additional generous funding from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Delivered by Fife Historic Buildings Trust on behalf of Fife Council, local elected members have maintained an enthusiastic involvement throughout the project.

Convener of the South and West Fife Area Committee, Councillor David Barratt said: “It is wonderful that Inverkeithing has witnessed the exemplary conservation of the Town House, one of its five A-listed town centre buildings as a part of this local project, and alongside, has facilitated individuals and firms in Fife to enhance their traditional skills.”

Fife Council invests in heritage skills training

Trainees applying their lime pointing theory in practical exercise

Emma Griffiths, training and development officer with Fife Historic Buildings Trust, added: “Running the traditional skills bursaries is one of many great parts of my job. Matching people with courses, and enabling them to develop personally and professionally, is fantastic. Knowing their skills will be of enduring benefit to the heritage in Inverkeithing, Fife and even beyond, is very satisfying.”

HES funds were granted through the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS). Increasing the quality and availability of historic environment skills is an important priority for Scotland’s lead public body responsible for investigating and caring for Scotland’s historic environment. The focus on promoting and increasing traditional skills through the project was an important way to achieve this priority.

Susan O’Connor, head of grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “CARS projects across Scotland have been an excellent way to match local need and increase traditional skills capacity. Fife has 48 conservation areas and 6200 listed buildings, making up around 10% of Scotland’s total. The enhanced skills developed thanks to this project’s funding will help protect that rich heritage in Fife for future generations, as well as deliver environmental and economic benefits to the local community.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s generous contribution to the Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project was through their Townscape Heritage programme. As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future.

Fife Council invests in heritage skills training

Fife Council staff prepared, tinted and lime washed this 1609 monument in Collessie, Fife

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund director for Scotland, said: “The delivery of the traditional skills bursaries in Inverkeithing has allowed an impressive number of people to receive specialist training, attend courses and access expert mentoring. We’re confident Inverkeithing’s, and Fife’s built heritage will continue to benefit, with so many more people better resourced to repair and maintain traditional buildings. Our support is made possible thanks to National Lottery players.”

Martin McDonald, operation manager at Silverburn Park, was a recent attendee to access a funded bursary place.

Describing his experience at the Scottish Lime Centre Trust’s workshops in Fife, Martin said: “I have been introduced to the magical substance of lime, and its remarkable properties. Best of all, I went from being utterly useless at lime mortaring to being pretty bad. Stunning progress over one afternoon, and thoroughly enjoyable!”

Others have learned about lime mortaring, conserving brick, plain lime plaster, repairing sash and case windows, and making, pigmenting and applying lime harls and washes. Fife Council’s specialist heritage squad used their newly acquired lime washing skills to maintain the 1609 kirkyard memorial to Sir James Melville at Collessie.

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