Clair Shields – Planning Officer (Building Conservation)
The apprentices have been charged with overseeing the restoration of a vernacular building within the historic core of Helmsley town. Vernacular buildings reflect the locality in design (or rather non design), materials, and adaptation; rather than any particular architectural ‘style’.
An accredited architect has produced a specification for repairs, and the apprentices have produced the programme of works and bill of quantities, and arranged procurement of materials and the disposal of waste, so gaining invaluable experience of project management.
Along the way the apprentices will be advised by expert conservationists to assist them with the more specialist work needed when working on traditionally built buildings – e.g. a local lime specialist will oversee ‘hot mixing’ and supervise the apprentices when they ‘torch’ the roof thus promulgating vernacular, traditional building skills.
The works are anticipated to take six weeks. There was a quick start to the project with the apprentices stripping half the roof by lunchtime on the first day. Now decisions need to be taken on the quality of the timberwork and the potential for splicing in new sections of timbers.
This is just one of the work tasks the apprentices have been involved with. If you’re wondering what a TECAP apprentice might be …..
Since 2011 a partnership comprising of this National Park, local Estates (Castle Howard, Duncombe Park, Mexborough, Dawnay, and Hackness), English Heritage, York College and the University of York have been working together to address local skills shortages through the implementation of a two-year craft skills apprenticeship project offering ‘on the job’ training and NVQ level 2 qualifications. This is the Traditional Estate Conservation Apprenticeship Project: TECAP for short.
The aim is to train apprentices in traditional craft skills to a level of good practice in the sustainable conservation of vernacular buildings and nationally important archaeological monuments. The Estates provide the practical experience maintaining and conserving the region’s heritage, and the apprentices also attend College on a block release basis to achieve a nationally recognised qualification by the end of their apprenticeship. There are three apprentices at the moment, all from the local area.
The project is currently being funded through the North York Moors, Coast and Hills LEADER Programme, English Heritage, the Ernest Cook Trust, the Radcliffe Trust, Historic Houses Association (Yorkshire), NHTG Heritage Skills for the Future and the North York Moors National Park Authority. The current apprenticeship scheme ends in 2014.