The future of Scotland’s historic buildings is hoped to be preserved by the launch of a new £6.2m partnership aimed at training apprentices.
The National Trust have joined forces with the Hamish Ogston Foundation to give young people key heritage skills.
It comes as the industry faces an ageing workforce and a lack of training opportunities, which have caused a sharp decline in the sector.
Known as the Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship Programme, the scheme has been award to the National Trust by the funds of the Hamish Ogston Foundation.
52 Apprenticeships will be on offer, across the fields of stonemasonry, carpentry and joinery, resulting in either a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification.
The new partners have also committed to ensuring individuals benefit from a one-year post-apprentice work placement, designed by the National Trust.
Robert Bargery, Project Director for Heritage at the Hamish Ogston Foundation said: “Historic buildings are among Britain’s greatest assets and some of the finest are in the care of the National Trust.
“This is a chance for motivated young people to leave their mark on them, literally, and help ensure that these priceless works of art and architecture are passed to future generations in the best possible condition.
“This is part of a £25m investment the Hamish Ogston Foundation is making in heritage skills training and we are proud to be taking the lead in delivering another project of real value to the nation in the Platinum Jubilee year.”
The Hamish Ogston Foundation, created by the entrepreneur and philanthropist of the same name, spends its time focusing on heritage, health and music.
Their latest projects will see apprentices trained at various National Trust sites across the country, including Attingham Park, Fountains Abbey and Saltram.
Hilary McGrady, Director-General at the National Trust said: “Each of the extraordinary buildings and landmarks we look after is testament to thousands of hours of craft skills, and the care and dedication of generations past. Keeping these skills alive is fundamental to passing on our heritage for everyone to enjoy.
“We’re immensely grateful to the Hamish Ogston Foundation for this very generous support. It will enable apprentices across the country to get hands on with heritage, earning as they learn and gaining a nationally recognised qualification that will help them play a part in securing the future of our nations’ heritage.”
Figures published by Skills Development Scotland last month found that construction and related practices had the most new apprentices over the past year.
Over 6500 young people entered the field over 2021/22, while sport, health and social care ranked second with over 5700 new starts.