New apprenticeship scheme tackles heritage skills shortage as Hamish Ogston Foundation grants £6.2 million to National Trust

The National Trust and the Hamish Ogston Foundation have announced a new partnership programme that will train apprentices in key heritage skills. 

An ageing workforce and lack of training opportunities has led to a sharp decline in the traditional building and heritage skills sector, putting the future of historic buildings at risk.  

To help train the craftspeople of the future, the Hamish Ogston Foundation has awarded £6.2 million to the National Trust for a new Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship programme.  

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is a charitable organisation, dedicated to three prime areas of philanthropic focus: Heritage, Health and Music.  

The Hamish Ogston Foundation Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship Programme will offer 52 apprenticeships in stonemasonry or carpentry & joinery, which will result in either a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification through the government’s formal apprenticeship scheme.

The development of expert craftspeople takes significant time and investment, so each individual will also benefit from a one-year post-apprentice work placement, designed by the National Trust, to further embed their skills and put their training into practice.

Apprentices will be trained by heritage skills professionals in the National Trust at one of 12  of the charity’s places across the country: Attingham Park, Clumber Park, Cotehele,  Fountains Abbey, Bransdale, Hardwick, Hughenden, Lacock Abbey, Lanhydrock, Lyme, Montacute House and Saltram. 

By the time each apprentice has finished their training programme, they will have been employed by the Trust for between three and five years, depending on the level of their qualification. The length and quality of the apprenticeships combined with the work placements will mean individuals will have the skills needed to embark on a rewarding new career, either with the Trust or others in the heritage sector and make a significant contribution towards saving the nation’s heritage. 

The new apprenticeship programme is open to people of all ages but is particularly targeted at young people to provide them with lifelong employment opportunities. 

Robert Bargery, Project Director for Heritage at the Hamish Ogston Foundation said:  

“We are delighted to partner with the National Trust to provide high-quality, fully-funded training opportunities for young people that will set them on course for a truly satisfying, long-term career. 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.”

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.” 

Over the last five years, the National Trust has been developing its apprenticeships and has launched and furthered the careers of over 260 individuals across a range of disciplines including countryside, gardens, hospitality, IT, project management, and leadership many of whom have been retained at the charity. 

The new Heritage Crafts Apprenticeships will help the National Trust to build on this skills training and encourage more people to enter the sector. 

Jane Bellinger, People Development Director at the National Trust explained  

“We are committed to building our apprenticeship programmes, providing opportunities for a diverse range of young people to learn new skills, working alongside experts in their fields. 

“This very generous grant from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is a fantastic opportunity for people to take up careers in areas they may not have considered before.” 

The first cohort of apprentices will begin their training in September this year. For further information and to apply visit 


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