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25 March 2019

New skills plan aims to secure future of Scotland’s historic environment

An action plan to ensure Scotland has the skills it needs to manage, protect and conserve its historic environment is being launched.

Left to Right Gordon McGuinness and Stephen Sheridan from Skills Development Scotland and Alex Paterson from Historic Environment Scotland, each holding a copy of the plan

The Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s historic environment sector has been facilitated in partnership by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

It identifies a series of actions to address the skills challenges and opportunities in the sector, which supports an estimated 20,000 direct jobs across Scotland covering construction, the creative industries and tourism.

The plan is being launched at an event this morning at the Engine Shed in Stirling bringing together stakeholders across the sector and showcasing many of the initiatives aimed at encouraging new entrants, boosting innovation and developing new skills.

The publication was welcomed by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop. Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland’s historic environment is significant in a number of ways, from its sizeable economic impact to the fundamental role it plays in our cultural identity and wellbeing.

The delivery of Our Place in Time, Scotland’s strategy for the historic environment, relies on partnership working, and so the publication of this Skills Investment Plan is a key step towards fulfilling our strategic ambitions.

“Strengthening and deepening our pool of talent in this sector is essential for ensuring Scotland’s historic environment can be valued, cared for and enjoyed for years to come.”

The plan focuses on three broad themes for action: engaging the sector in skills and innovation; attracting future talent and improving access; and workforce development.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said:

“The development of this plan has been supported by a wide range of individuals and organisations who helped identify and prioritise the key actions which will address the skills challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Its success will rely on public, voluntary and commercial organisations from across our sector and beyond working in partnership.

“Working together to deliver this plan will help us to ensure that we have the talent and skills we need to understand, care for and promote the historic environment for the benefit of Scotland’s people, now and in the future.”

In addition to those directly employed, it is estimated there is at least a further 17,000 volunteers actively engaged in the sector.

Gordon McGuinness, Director of Industry and Enterprise at SDS, said:

“The broad range of skills required by the historic environment sector reflects its diverse nature, encompassing everything from traditional building skills, surveying and archaeology to digital skills, leadership, management and marketing.

“The Skills Investment Plan provides a framework through the which the industry can respond to the challenges and opportunities before it, developing further its skills base and providing exciting career opportunities.

This plan has the potential to make a significant impact that could be felt far beyond the sector, given its key role in maintaining and promoting Scotland’s cultural heritage and identity.”

The Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Historic Environment Sector is available for download.

For further information, please contact:

Craig McQueen
Skills Development Scotland, Communications and Marketing
Direct line: 0141 468 6756
Mobile: 07557 845 388

Claire Mullaney
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct line: 0131 668 8714
Mobile: 07468 759 137