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Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship programme tackles shortage in traditional building skills

Apprentice joiner using traditional method to build a replica of the Sutton Hoo royal burial
Apprentice joiner using traditional method to build a replica of the Sutton Hoo royal burial in Suffolk | © National Trust Images/James Beck

In September 2022, we launched a new apprenticeship scheme to train people in key heritage skills. Find out more about the scheme, the current apprentices and what they're working on.

Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship programme

The programme offers apprenticeships in stonemasonry or carpentry and joinery, which result in either a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification. Each apprentice will also benefit from a one-year post-apprentice work placement to further develop their skills and put their training into practice. By the time each apprentice has finished their training programme, they will have been employed by us for between three and five years, depending on the level of their qualification.

Apprentices are currently being trained by heritage skills professionals at the following places in our care:

  • Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
  • Cotehele, Cornwall
  • Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire
  • Hardwick, Derbyshire
  • Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Recreating the Anglo-Saxon ship at Sutton Hoo

During summer 2023, two National Trust joinery apprentices honed their heritage craft skills as they helped build a full-size replica of the Sutton Hoo ship. The two-week placement with Sutton Hoo Ship's Company in Suffolk involved using materials and construction methods that would have been used by Anglo-Saxon builders.

Uncovered on the eve of the Second World War, the ship is thought to be the final resting place of King Rædwald, a 7th-century ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia.

Latest update

This apprenticeship programme was originally in partnership with the Hamish Ogston Foundation. However, given the severity of the allegations published in The Sunday Times, we've suspended our work with them.

View over Tumbleton Lake at Cragside, Northumberland, looking towards the stables with the colourful autumn trees behind and reflected in the lake

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