Technical Conservation Traineeship

Location: Historic Environment Scotland – Stirling

Duration: April 2019-March 2020

Entitled to: Training Bursary Grant of £13,500 (tax free)

Portfolio: Historic Environment Scotland Certificate in recognition of on-site traineeship completion.

Application closing date: 29th March 2019

Interviews: 4th April 2018

Application pack from:


About the programme


This traineeship is one of 5 offered this year through the Next Step Initiative ‘’Ethnic Minority Career Museum and Built Environment Heritage Programme’’ across Scotland, supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s National Skills for the Future Initiative.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will create two Technical Conservation Skills Traineeships as part of the above programme, to enable young people from the African and Caribbean/Ethnic Minority background to gain insight and experience of a wide range of technical conservation skills within the HES Conservation Directorate.



Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body in Scotland charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment and promoting its understanding and enjoyment on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

The Conservation Directorate is responsible for the practical conservation of our 336 sites which include Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, with specialist teams spread across the country.

The directorate also leads on technical research, traditional building skills and materials. In recent years this has become the focus for traditional building and sustainability issues for Scottish Government.

Within the Conservation Directorate the Technical Education & Training Unit is responsible for a wide range of training activities; craft apprenticeships, internships, fellowships and post-graduate study, as well as the dissemination of the results of technical research and activities to raise the profile of traditional skills and materials, through printed and digital resources and events such as seminars, conferences and traditional skills tasters.

The team is also responsible for the development and delivery of the content of the Engine Shed, including the activity plan, interpretation plans for the exhibition spaces and a Virtual Learning Environment.

Traineeship Opportunity


The traineeship will be coordinated by a Conservation Training Officer. These officers are responsible for the management of our own Craft Fellowship & Internship Programmes.

In terms of format, the Traineeship will be divided into two main elements; a ‘Taster’ phase during which the trainee will gain exposure to a wide range of roles within technical conservation, followed by an ‘in-depth’ phase, when they will be able to spend a longer period with the team of their choice, to gain a realistic work-place experience, which will include delivery of a project.

Role Descriptor


Taster Phase – within this phase the role of the trainee will be that of a learner; observing & receiving training and instruction from experienced mentors. In some areas, such as stonemasonry this will be formal workshop and classroom tuition but in most will be work based vocational learning.

Week 1&2 Induction at the Engine Shed

Introduced to HES & Conservation Directorate, introduced to staff & outline of traineeship agreed. Basic Health & Safety training & provision of Personal Protective Equipment. Some site visits to gain a feel for the organization and what will be involved going forward.

Education & Outreach Unit


Weeks 3-6 Outreach Team

Working with the Outreach Officers to learn about the development and delivery of outreach workshops to a variety of audiences. Trainees will have the chance to work with the public when assisting the delivery of workshops.

Weeks 7-12 Content Team

Learning about the dissemination of knowledge and expertise through the development of publications, web content and exhibitions. Trainees will have the opportunity to develop their writing and research skills.

Weeks 13-16 Programme Team

Planning and delivering the Engine Shed programme of events. These can range from small training workshops to large scale conferences. Trainees will learn about the planning, organising and delivery of these events.

Weeks 17-22 Traditional Skills Unit – based at Forth Valley College, Stirling:

Training in basic stonemasonry & conservation skills. Stone dressing & basic finishing, mortar mixing, setting out & building structures; basic conservation repair techniques.

Trainee will be trained alongside HES apprentice masons and will receive one-to-one instruction & participate in class activities & team work for building projects.

Weeks 23-26 Monument Conservation Unit – on-site within Central Scotland

Opportunity to put those new skills to use! Placement with a squad of trained masons, undertaking conservation work to a monument. Gain experience of working on a live construction site, working with your hands to conserve the built heritage. Experience working from a scaffold; learn about construction Health & Safety, see the challenge of conservation theory being put into practice.

Weeks 27-31 Science & Digital– based at Engine Shed & on-site

Get geeky with the scientists! You have experienced the sharp end of monument conservation; now see where how the technical knowledge & expertise is developed. Work in the lab doing materials analysis, go out on-site doing thermography with the science team.

Learn about using augmented reality to access heritage from the digital team. Visit sites with the climate change team to learn about risk assessment.

Weeks 32-48 In-depth Phase, less watching, more doing!

Getting hands on experience, developing your own project. – based with one of the units the Trainee has worked with previously – An opportunity to really get to grips with work in the heritage sector.

Identified another craft area that you want to experience? Plastering, lime work? We can find a crafts person for you to work with.

Spend more time on-site honing your hand skills and learning from our own skilled craftspeople.

Explore how technology is changing how we perceive and understand our past with the science and digital teams.

Finally, facing the public, developing engaging ways of exciting school kids and new audiences?

Work with our Education & outreach team to fine tune your presentation & engagement skills.

As part of your placement, we will help you identify a project or piece of work that will enable you to showcase your skills to a future employer or that could lead to another training opportunity.

Weeks 48-52 Flexibility

We will build in and agree with you a period to cover public holidays and allow some flexibility in length of placements, to ensure you maximize the potential of an extra site visit or additional week to take something to completion.

All trainees will also attend our week-long Building Conservation Summer School.

Like all our staff, trainees, regardless of which unit they are working in, will be expected to participate in Outreach events throughout the year, which will mean some weekend working, for which Time off in Lieu will be given.

At the end of the Traineeship, we would also expect candidates to spend time writing up their experiences and providing HES with constructive feedback. A Portfolio will be created throughout the traineeship with the help of NSI Project Managers.

Selection Criteria: Experience and Skills


The traineeship would suit an individual with a passion for cultural heritage and conservation.

No specific academic qualifications are required but the trainee should be able to express themselves clearly in spoken and written English, have reasonable arithmetic and mathematical skills and have good attention to detail.

Trainees should have the ability to work without direct supervision using own initiative, and to anticipate and resolve problems.

Experience of Microsoft Office programs such as Outlook, Word, Excel would be useful, as would experience of using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The traineeship will focus on the practical vocational skills that are required for work within the heritage sector and understanding these will greatly help underpin any future academic or formal training subsequently undertaken.

Traineeship is only open from people from African and Caribbean/Ethnic Minority Communities across Scotland



  • This is a 51-week workplace-based traineeship starting in March 2019
  • A bursary of £13,500 will be paid to support this traineeship
  • you will work 37 hours per week and your leave entitlement will be 21 days plus

Public holidays

During the traineeship you will build a portfolio of achievement to take forward into employment.

At induction, you will be provided with your training plan which will set out learning objectives and activities in more detail.

However, as the training program is responsive to individual trainee requirements, you will have the opportunity to liaise with your mentor/supervisor to establish an individual program of support.

Trainees on this program form part of a cohort recruited together, and will regularly meet up. Trainees will also be part of an online community, offering support and learning opportunities, IT access, stationery and other reasonable requirements will be provided by the placement provider.


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