There are real concerns about the lack of skills tradespeople in the traditional building sector and the Scottish Traditional Building Forum has been extremely active in educational engagement with schools and pupils to raise the profile of the careers available.
Gordon Lindhurst MSP (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – Member for Lothian) has shown considerable interest in the traditional building sector attending several STBF events and also leading a parliamentary debate about the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.
Gordon recently asked a series of parliamentary questions about the traditional building sector including concerns about the skills gap which the Minister for Employability and Training answered referring to the work being done by traditional building forums across Scotland. It is nice to see that the efforts of the forums across Scotland is being recognised by HES and the Scottish Government.
The Traditional Building Skills Demonstrations have been organised in collaboration with key stakeholders across the supply chain to promote the traditional building sector as a career of choice and to inform and empower homeowners to repair and maintain their homes.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that there is currently a lack of skilled tradespeople in the traditional building sector.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (15/03/2017): The Scottish Government is aware that there are skills gaps within the construction workforce within Scotland regarding traditional buildings.Historic Environment Scotland (HES) works with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and industry partners to identify trends in skills gaps within the traditional skills sector in Scotland. HES is developing a growing awareness of local skills needs through its support for the Traditional Building Forums currently operating in Tayside, Forth Valley, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.
HES also continues to work with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and CITB and industry to ensure that construction industry training reflects the needs of Scotland’s historic built environment. To that end HES has recently reviewed and revised the Professional Development Award in Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Masonry Structures and will be piloting its delivery next month at its Elgin training centre.
In the next few months HES will open the Engine Shed in Stirling, a national resource and world class facility to raise standards in conservation, promote traditional skills and materials and excite a new generation of young people about traditional buildings. HES will look to spread the messages and learning outcomes from the Engine Shed through its Building Conservation Network, to support traditional skills training across the country.
Under the auspices of Our Place in Time: The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland a Skills and Expertise Group is to be set up to work collaboratively with public, private and voluntary sector partners to identify the existing and future skills needs of the sector and develop initiatives that address those needs.