Traditional Building Skills and Materials Event – Edinburgh

The Scottish Traditional Building Forum held a highly successful Traditional Building Skills and Materials Event in St Andrews Square Gardens, Edinburgh on 6 and 7 June.


There were four trade demonstration tents which featured apprentices at Edinburgh College on stonemasonry, roof slating, plastering and painting and decorating. There were also tents aimed to give members of the public advice on how to repair and maintain their traditionally built homes.


School children from across Edinburgh were given the opportunity to try the four trades on display and visit an active site close by which was currently being developed by ISG plc.


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Seven MSPs also took the opportunity to come to the event to meet the apprentices and try their hand at the displays under the close eye of the apprentices and college lecturers.


Alison Johnson MSP and Andy Wightman MSP



Andy Wightman MSP



Gordon Lindhurst MSP



Gordon MacDonald MSP



Jeremy Balfour MSP



Kezia Dugdale MSP



Liam Kerr MSP


Several MSPs had sent their apologies but requested to meet with the Scottish Traditional Building Forum to discuss issues relating to the skills and materials required to repair and maintain Scotland’s traditional building.


Gordon MacDonald MSP kindly submitted a Parliamentary Motion which received widespread support in Holyrood and read:


Motion S5M-00396: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/06/2016

Promoting Traditional Building Skills and Materials
That the Parliament welcomes the Traditional Building Skills and Materials event held at St Andrew Square Gardens in Edinburgh on 6 and 7 June 2016, which featured apprentices demonstrating traditional building skills, including masonry, slate roofing, plastering and painting and decorating; recognises that the event was a collaboration organised through the Scottish Traditional Building Forum and included British Geological Survey, Built Environment Forum Scotland, National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Edinburgh College, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, Architecture and Design Scotland, Stone Federation Great Britain, Historic Environment Scotland and Essential Edinburgh; notes that the event was open to members of the public for advice, with the aim of highlighting the importance of traditional building skills in the construction sector, and brought together pupils from across Edinburgh with local apprentices; believes that practical demonstrations of traditional building skills provide a platform to promote the construction industry and the many varied and desirable career paths that it can offer, and welcomes the ongoing work of all partner agencies to draw attention to the necessity for traditional building skills and, in turn, help to create a hi-tech, world-class industry with outstanding career prospects, helping companies to skill-proof their businesses, invest in skills and plan for the future.
Gordon MacDonald MSP said The recent Traditional Building Skills and Materials Event held at St Andrews Square Gardens, Edinburgh highlighted the many and varied apprenticeships available to youngsters wanting to embark in a career in construction.”
” These highly skilled jobs are in much demand as a large proportion of our public buildings were constructed of traditional materials and it is essential that these trades are kept alive if we wish to preserve these buildings for future generations.”
Liam Kerr MSP Scottish Conservatives Spokesperson on Jobs, Employability and Training said “This type of event is a great opportunity for young people to find out more about potential career options in future years. 

“There are apprenticeships available and courses in stone-masonry, roof slating, plastering and painting and decorating that can provide great opportunities for employment.”


“We need to make sure that we have a workforce trained in traditional building skills to maintain and repair the historic buildings that are a crucial part of this country’s heritage.”


“You only have to look around you in Dundee, Aberdeen or many of the towns around Angus and Aberdeenshire at the number of beautiful historic buildings. All of these properties need to be protected and maintained and that work requires skilled tradespersons.”





John McKinney

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