A Rothesay man is among 18 new Historic Scotland traditional skills apprentices - the largest single intake in the organisation’s history - to take up their posts as part of a four-year training programme.
Luke MacDonald joins Historic Scotland as an apprentice stonemason and will be based at Rothesay Castle, which follows a call from Historic Scotland earlier this year for a new batch of recruits to ensure the ongoing demand for traditional and essential skills across the historic environment is met.
To mark the start of their training, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs visited Forth Valley College in Stirling to meet the 18 new apprentices and their course leaders.
The new additions will bring the total number of apprentices employed by Historic Scotland in the last five years to 48. By April 2014 Historic Scotland will have around 60 construction apprentices in training, making it one of the largest trainers of traditional crafts in Scotland and the UK.
The trainee positions focus on learning the traditional craft skills required in their chosen discipline with a focus on conservation. While much of the training will take place on-site at one of Historic Scotland’s properties in care, there will be time spent in college at various stages throughout the four-year programme. At the end of the apprenticeship, participants will gain an industry-recognised qualification.
Mrs Hyslop said: “Keeping traditional skills alive plays a crucial role in the preservation of Scotland’s historic environment and I am thrilled to see 18 new apprentices starting work in this important field. These trainee positions will have a focus on conservation and will see vital traditional skills being preserved and nurtured, as well as offering 18 young people the opportunity to gain industry-recognised qualifications.”