£1.3m training boost for Wales' heritage industry

image captionThe placements will include training in heritage gardening skills

The heritage industry in Wales is being boosted by £1.3m worth of work-based training grants.

The Heritage Lottery funding will lead to 70 placements for jobseekers in skills varying from digitising archives to conserving historic gardens.

The Skills for the Future programme is aimed at filling skills gaps identified by museums, libraries and visitor attractions.

Carmarthenshire council said the grants would help rural regeneration in Wales.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said its investment would support training in traditional conservation skills, such as stonemasonry and heritage gardening.

It would also provide a range of more contemporary skills, such as making archives available online and engaging the community.

It said it hoped it would broaden the appeal of the heritage industry to job-seekers.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, HLF chair, said: "When the recession kicked in last year we thought very hard about how the Heritage Lottery Fund could make a difference to people's lives at a time of real need.

"The answer was an innovative and ambitious programme focusing on equipping people with practical skills to help them secure future employment.

"We know that the range of placements on offer will attract people who might not previously have considered working in heritage."

Skills gap

Among the grants to be awarded, Glamorgan Archives based in Cardiff will receive £224,400 for 10 three-month placements covering skills for digitisation, research, conservation and working with the wider community.

Trainees will then undergo an additional three-month placement at partner sites including the National Library of Wales, and public libraries and museums in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Swansea and Torfaen.

National Museum Wales has been awarded a £498,100 grant to help fill the practical skills and excellence gap in the horticultural sector, particularly for Jacobean, Victorian and Edwardian gardening techniques.

It said 30 placements would be on offer at some of Wales' biggest heritage sites from St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff to Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Aberglasney and National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire.

Carmarthenshire council said it would use its £662,400 grant to provide 30 local people with opportunities to acquire traditional heritage building skills, such as lime plastering, stone masonry, slate and tile roofing, carpentry and joinery.

Trainees will be provided with a mentor and the heritage firm trainers will be given 'train the trainer' business support.

Selwyn Jones, a stonemason based in Betws, Ammanford, said: "I'm passionate about traditional skills and I want to be able to pass on this knowledge to the next generation.

"I'm also extremely keen to encourage more women into the sector."

Placements are due to start towards the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

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