Cathedral Crafts Training Enters New Phase

The Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has announced a further tranche of funding to support heritage craft training through the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). This new award of £700k, which builds on the HOF Covid Emergency grant of £535k announced in January, will enable the ten CWF cathedrals to offer training places to up to twenty-five craft trainees from September 2021.
 
The funding marks the second phase of a five-year partnership project with the CWF in which HOF is contributing £3.1m to expand heritage training at English cathedrals, enabling them to continue to develop the next generation of craftspeople despite the devastating impact of Covid-19 on cathedrals’ finances. The HOF Craft Training project will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.
 
CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are delighted that the Hamish Ogston Foundation has recognised the value of the training we provide for craftspeople in cathedrals and the importance of ensuring its continuation as cathedrals start to recover from the effects of the pandemic.  Craft skills take time to develop and it is vital that we maintain the training momentum through the difficult years ahead. The funding will enable us to deliver training next year and plan confidently to offer further training opportunities over the next four years”.
 
Trainee stonemason Harriet Bailey is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Harriet is due to complete her NVQ Level 3 in Stonemasonry at York College this summer and has been looking for a training role to enable her to progress. The HOF funding has enabled Chester Cathedral to create a training position to which Harriet has just been recruited. She will start at Chester in the summer and join the Level 4 course in September.
 
Harriet said: “I’m excited to be undertaking the CWF course funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation and honoured to be joining Chester cathedral to care for such a beautiful building, rich in history. I look forward to applying what I learn in the degree to my work and reaching a stage where I can plan, manage, and carry out projects. I hope one day to be able to pass down what I learn in the course to future apprentices and trainees”.
 
Robert Bargery, Heritage Director at the Hamish Ogston Foundation, said: “We are excited to be working with CWF on this timely project, which not only supports the heritage sector at a time of crisis but invests in the skills needed to conserve our cathedrals. Our oldest and finest buildings will not survive without a continuous flow of skilled craftspeople and a key part of our strategy is to give trainees a helping hand as they embark on a truly rewarding career”.