How access to skills, knowledge and infrastructure can be ensured, to manage the historic environment.

Apprenticeship Reform Workshop

On 15th March 2017, the working group held a workshop on Apprenticeship Reform in the cultural heritage sector. This event came about as a means of addressing barriers surrounding skills development. The group set core aims for the day, which sought to ensure a shared level of knowledge and understanding on changes to apprenticeships, thus reflecting Heritage 2020’s commitment to collaborative working. These aims were:

  1. to update participants on the Apprenticeship Levy and apprenticeship reform in England (including the Trailblazer process)
  2. to share experience and practice in developing new apprenticeship standards
  3. to establish next steps and priorities for the cultural heritage sector

Outcomes from the day included a series of potential next steps, which could include the development of a ‘consortium’, designed to take an overview of both Trailblazer-related activities and Apprenticeship Standards. This would enable the identification of existing strengths to be capitalised on and any gaps that need to be filled. Heritage 2020, as a mechanism for bringing organisations together shall take forward the idea of a consortium through its Capacity Building Working Group. The working group shall discuss this in relation to their key priority, to create a more integrated and focused approach to education, training and continuing development. Heritage 2020 is grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England for their support of the day.

A full summary of the day is available here (pdf).

Samantha Hanna, Department for Education
Engaging with New Apprenticeship Reforms (pdf)

Sara Whybrew, Creative and Cultural Skills
Apprenticeship Reforms in England (pdf)

Barney Sloane, Historic England
Historic England and Apprenticeships (pdf)

The Heritage 2020 Framework document outlines the vision and priorities for collaboration for each working group.

  • By 2020 we will have agreed and, where required, begun to implement a new sustainable model for delivering local historic environment advice, supported by better and more accessible Historic Environment Records.
  • Better skills and qualified heritage practitioners and craftspeople will have greater access to continuing professional development and workplace learning. Employers will see workforce development as an everyday responsibility and business need and be supported to do so.
  • Approaches to training will be based on a good understanding of need across the sector and amongst owners and developers. Practitioners will be cross-disciplinary and, with elected members and other decision-takers, will be less risk-averse, showing more confidence in their judgements and a greater willingness to be innovative.
  • Advice, guidance and training for the independent heritage sector will be improved. An increasingly effective civil society will be able to take action at national and local level.
  • Owners will have access to better understanding to fulfill their central part in managing heritage, be more confident in their rights and responsibilities, understand the long term benefit of employing skilled contractors and feel more confident in commissioning professional advice.

Priorities for collaboration

The key priorities that were identified for collaborative action by the sector, working together are:

  • A sustainable model for Local Planning Authority (LPA) conservation and archaeology services.
  • Better support for the independent heritage sector.
  • A more integrated and focused approach to education, training and continuing development of heritage professionals.
  • Increasing the uptake of training and qualifications among the skilled and semi-skilled working in the sector.
  • Creating demand.

The working group has reviewed sector activity against these priorities and has focussed on two areas for which it will develop actions for 2016-17. The wider ‘activity log’ will be monitored regularly and it is intended that it will be added to these pages so that others in the sector can see the issues and activities that have been identified, and add their knowledge of other activities or opportunities for collaborative working.

Priorities for 2016-17

1. Develop a statement that outlines core service provision by Local Authorities with respect to the Historic Environment as part of work to address the need for a sustainable model for local authority conservation and archaeology services.

2. Develop an integrated approach to the education, training and continuing development of heritage professionals – initially through a focus on the new Apprenticeship landscape.

Action Plan


January 2019 Update

The group is continuing to advocate for an integrated approach to the education, training and continued development for heritage professionals and are working towards organising an apprenticeship event in Spring 2019. They are also continuing to review the statutory duties of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) with respect to the historic environment and archaeology.

17 September 2018

The group met on 17 September and discussed the progress of the LPA statutory list and the issues that need to be considered as the project moves forward. The group were then informed that an updated version of their skills matrix is now available and options for future publicity of it were discussed. It was then agreed that the future apprenticeships workshop, to be organised by the group, should focus on employers and aid them in recruiting apprentices. January/February 2019 was provisionally identified as a good time to run the workshop.

The group were then updated on the Client Demand Task Group and the potential for the group to create a portal to help people to access heritage skills. The group later discussed the progress they have made against their priority action areas and explored potential future activities that could build upon their progress.

15 May 2018

The group met on 15 May 2018 and discussed the brief for their project to review core Local Planning Authority (LPA) historic environment services as part of the wider objective of identifying sustainable model(s) for their provision. It was agreed that a call for expressions of interest in the project should be issued in the early summer.

The group then proceeded to discuss ways of developing a more integrated and focused approach to education, training and continuing professional development of heritage professionals. It was suggested that the skills matrix (that has been developed by the HEF skills task group) would be helpful and could be used a resource for university career officers.

It was then noted by the group that the Heritage 2020 Digital Foresight Workshop brought together a wide range of people and that the digital area has the potential for many positive collaborations. They identified the need to keep abreast of work to develop a digital maturity matrix that will be led by HLF. Finally, the group were updated on the Heritage Council, a new cross-Government group that came out of the Heritage Statement. This will see government departments form a round table to think ahead about heritage, with input from a small number of Heritage sector organisations and other expert contributors as appropriate to the agenda of each meeting.

9 February 2018

The group met on 9 February 2018 and discussed options to take forward the task of reviewing Local Planning Authority statutory service provision for the historic environment. It was decided that a brief should be drawn up for the work that could be used in a call for expressions of interest in the work, or developed into a funding bid.

Historic England provided an update on its new approach to commissioning future labour market research, and on the Historic Environment Trailblazer including newly published FAQs on the Historic Environment Apprenticeships.

Members of the HEF skills task group, the HEF client demand task group and the HEF standards and guidance group had joined the meeting to talk about their work and a future relationship with the Capacity Building group. It was agreed that the current Chair of the skills group should join the Capacity Building group and complete and maintain the skills matrix that had been developed by the group. The Client Demand task group will continue to operate as a separate subgroup to progress its work, but report through the Capacity Building group to HEF. The future relationship of the HEF standards and guidance group will be discussed at a future meeting.

3 October 2017

The group met on 3 October 2017 and discussed:

1. Apprenticeships:

The group was updated on the significant cross-sector activity on Apprenticeships, including the Historic Environment Trailblazer where three sub-groups are developing standards in archaeology, conservation and advisory sectors.

2. Local Planning Authority historic environment services:

The group discussed progress in identifying core Local Authority historic environment service provision, including work to review recently produced documents by IHBC, ALGAO and CIfA, as well as an older list of statutory duties by DCLG. The next step is for the list of statutory duties to be updated by the group, as a precursor identifying strengths and gaps in provision, and to inform future advocacy work.

The group also discussed the impact on new technology on traditional skills and its possible contribution to the wider ‘digital’ topic of the 2018 Foresight meeting.

Finally the group reviewed its relationship with other Historic Environment Forum (HEF) skills groups, discussing the opportunities for the groups to work together more closely and report through Heritage 2020 to HEF.

14 March 2017
The group’s discussion of responses to the consultation identified as areas to take forward:

1. Skills development at all levels

2. The need for access to information that will both inform and speed up decision making and planning processes

The planned workshop on Apprenticeship Reform (15 March 2017) is a measure that will help to address skills development issues. The workshop aims to share information and experience across the sector relating to this area of change. The group also agreed to inquire about the next steps for the HEF subgroups relating to skills.

The group continues to work on its summary of Local Authority historic environment core services, with a draft document planned for review at the next meeting.

Finally, the group discussed the impact of new technology on traditional skills as a potential area to be addressed in 2017-18.

15 November 2016
The group’s November meeting focused on actions to take forward the two priority areas that had been agreed previously:

1. Local Authority resourcing (definition of services to be prioritised across archaeology and historic building conservation)
An initial discussion had taken place with ALGAO which is willing to collaborate as it is doing similar work. The group discussed the background information that already exists and agreed that this should be collated. The collated document should align with the Culture White Paper aims, and take into account work underway at Historic England.

2. Apprenticeships
The group continued to support the activity of holding a workshop (led by Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England), to take place by the end of March 2017. Issues to be explored include how universities are approaching the growth of Apprenticeships, experience of setting up and running Apprenticeships (of organisations subject to the Levy) and latest knowledge on Apprenticeship standards. The event is to be an opportunity to bring the sector together to exchange knowledge and expertise.

The group discussed how to make the extensive Activity Log publicly available and it was agreed that the project support officer should investigate reformatting it for the website.