Traditional skills strategy launch

The first of 30 new apprentices to be appointed under Historic Scotland’s commitment to put traditional skills at the heart of the nation’s construction industry have been announced.

Iain McFadden from Stonehaven and Michael Hogg from Inverness, are the first of ten apprentices to be confirmed this year to take up a placement.

The apprenticeships are aimed at helping boost Scotland’s economic recovery, and have been created to help ensure traditional skills lie at the heart of a sustainable future for the nation’s traditional building stock.

The new apprentices will take up work placements, ahead of joining the first class to go through a stonemasonry qualification, either at Historic Scotland’s workshops in Elgin, or at the new purpose-built facility at Forth Valley College, Stirling, which is due to open later this year.

The Government strategy, “Traditional Building Skills: A strategy for sustaining and developing traditional building skills in Scotland” has been developed by Historic Scotland, with Skills Development Scotland, the Sector Skills Council and Construction Skills.

Iain (47), who previously managed a picture framing company before taking up a post as a labourer with Historic Scotland two years ago, is currently based at Arbroath Abbey. He said has an artistic eye and had always wanted to work with stone.

“To be working for Historic Scotland is a privilege,” he said. “Often when we go to a job on a site, the last person to work on the monument was the person who built it. It’s very satisfying to think that what we do will be there for generations to come.”

During the course of their apprenticeships, Michael and Iain will learn the full range of stone masonry skills, including cutting, hewing, building and pointing.