When past meets future – Edinburgh skills demo

THE people who will conserve the country’s traditional buildings showed their skills at a public demonstration in Edinburgh to mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

The event in St Andrews Square featured apprentices from public and private sectors who went through their paces in skills such as roofing, stonemasonry, joinery, painting and decorating.
Sixteen apprentices from across the country were chosen to build on a summit held last November when a sector-wide approach to driving more interest in traditional skills was discussed. The new effort aims to ensure all areas of the historic environment play their part in attracting more people into traditional skills.
Over the last five years, Historic Scotland has recruited 48 apprentices, making it the single biggest recruiter of traditional skills trainees in Scotland.
Visiting the event, Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, said: “The enthusiasm from the young people about traditional skills and materials is very encouraging. These apprentices are the key to protecting our rich skills legacy and ensuring they continue long into the future. They are also vital to maintaining the historic built environment.
“With over 400,000 traditionally constructed buildings in Scotland the need to invest in training the skilled tradespeople of the future is very real. As well as the enthusiasm of the trainees, I was delighted to hear of the continuing commitment by public and private sectors employers and further education to creating apprenticeship opportunities for our young people.”