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English Heritage Breathes New Life Into Endangered Heritage Skills With Ground-Breaking Apprenticeship Programme

A ground-breaking heritage apprenticeship programme, designed to pass the dying skill of flint-working to a younger generation, was announced today by English Heritage, following a major donation of £11.2m to the charity from the Hamish Ogston Foundation. This is the largest donation ever received by English Heritage.

The programme will see the establishment of a new heritage skills training centre in East Anglia, the creation of an inhouse ‘heritage crafts team’ at English Heritage, and safeguard the future of 34 flint castles and abbeys in the East of England. It will highlight the opportunities of working on heritage buildings to thousands of school children, offer hands on experience for student trainees and create over 50 new apprenticeship roles.

Gerard Lemos CMG, Chair of English Heritage, said: “Both the landscape of East Anglia and the lives of its people have historically been defined by flint, with skills apprenticeships passed down over generations. That’s no longer happening, and both the buildings and the people have been the poorer for it. With the extremely generous support of the Hamish Ogston Foundation for which we are immensely grateful, our new skills apprenticeships will provide a radical new approach to address the decline. This investment is not just in the past – through saving English Heritage sites as well as homes and churches across the region – but in the future, by providing fulfilling careers for this, and subsequent generations.”

Robert Bargery, Heritage Project Director of the Hamish Ogston Foundation, said: “Heritage skills like flint knapping are the timeless threads that weave our past with our future. The art of flintknapping is at a severe risk of extinction with only a handful of specialists left in the UK. This latest grant from the Hamish Ogston Foundation to English Heritage will help to secure a new generation of specialists, so that we can combat this skills shortage and ensure that historic buildings at-risk can be preserved for years to come.”

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