The All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme will give aspiring craftspeople from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the opportunity to spend 12 months engaging in collaborative learning experiences while honing their heritage craft skills and gaining invaluable experience working on historic sites.
The course, which will begin in Spring 2022, has been specifically developed to meet the demand for training in traditional building skills in the Republic of Ireland, extending across the border into Northern Ireland where The Prince’s Foundation already offers heritage craft skills training. The new programme will help preserve heritage skills that are at risk of being lost such as traditional carpentry, lime work, thatching, blacksmithing, and stonemasonry.
The programme will be supported by a Heritage Grant from Benefact Trust, and will be run in partnership with the Historic Environment Division of Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities and several industry partners across Ireland.
Michael Goodger, Built Environment Education Manager for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “The Prince’s Foundation believes that it is crucial to preserve the wisdom and knowledge that embodies many of the traditional building skills which have shaped our historical built environment. Not only are these skills essential in ensuring appropriate repair and maintenance of traditional buildings can take place, they are also an opportunity to demonstrate how local materials and local knowledge can be utilised in the future as we strive towards a more sustainable world.”
“We are delighted to be collaborating with Benefact Trust to launch the All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme. Building on the successes of our previous work in Northern Ireland, we are excited to expand our support for the next generation of heritage craftspeople and look forward to building new connections across the sector.
“During the programme, students will have the opportunity to work towards a qualification in heritage building skills and will benefit from practical workshops, onsite experience at historic sites, lectures and seminars, residential courses at our sites across the UK, and the opportunity to learn from others across their respective trades. To ensure the course is accessible to all, successful applicants will receive a monthly bursary to help cover the cost of travel and accommodation.”
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We are thrilled to partner with The Prince’s Foundation to launch this new programme and expand heritage craft skills training into Ireland. The All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme will help to ensure that at-risk traditional skills can continue for generations to come, and it will support talented craftspeople to grow and develop their skills which is an investment in the future of the heritage sector. We look forward to following their progress and sharing their stories.”