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19 January 2017

Partnership primed to capitalise on Scotland’s expertise

Innovative educational framework set to bring benefits to Scotland’s £2.4billion heritage sector

Photo of three signatories of partnership agreement between Stirling University, Historic Environment Scotland, and Forth Valley College, with each of their organisations' vertical banners behind them

Scotland’s £2.4billion heritage sector is set to benefit from an ambitious new educational partnership which will promote and develop expertise in managing Scotland’s heritage assets, as well as providing new training opportunities from apprenticeships to post graduate level qualifications.

Launched at Stirling Castle, Historic Environment Scotland, the University of Stirling and Forth Valley College have today – Thursday 19th January – announced the innovative partnership model for collaboration; the first of its kind with a cultural heritage focus at an international level.

Providing a framework to develop, accredit and award qualifications for education and vocational training programmes, the partnership will look to the international market as an opportunity for Scotland’s heritage sector to lead the industry and foster new economic activity. As well as helping to drive collaborative research projects, it’s hoped the partnership could realise direct benefits for the sector, such as innovative new solutions and practices for addressing challenges, including those brought by a changing environment and climate.

Traditional Skills Partnership from Forth Valley College on Vimeo.

A series of conferences and events will showcase best practice and help to engage people with international cultural heritage and its conservation and management.

Newly developed post graduate level and shorter-term courses will run alongside apprenticeships and a number of other skills training opportunities. These new courses are due to be developed and rolled out over the next year at partners’ campuses and sites, including the Engine Shed – Historic Environment Scotland’s multi-million pound, work in progress, building conservation hub in Stirling.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Collaboration is core to our work as the lead body for the historic environment and this unique alliance marks an exciting time for us and the wider sector.

“Whilst we have long benefited from working with key industry partners, this new model for collaboration will help develop and foster innovative solutions and increase knowledge and learning within the cultural heritage sector. Our shared ambition for this partnership is to capitalise on Scotland’s expertise in this field to help stimulate and drive new economic activity within the heritage sector at an international level.

This enterprise will bring together a wealth of skills and expertise with education, research and training, reinforcing Scotland’s reputation for leading the way in conservation excellence.”

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “We’re delighted to formally commit to a long term partnership with the University of Stirling and Historic Environment Scotland. This agreement is a natural progression of ongoing collaborative work that we are already successfully undertaking with both organisations. By working together, we can contribute significantly to the future success of Scotland’s heritage and conservation sector through innovative education and training programmes, events and joint projects.      

“We hope to benefit the partnership by bringing extensive expertise and experience in regards to vocational and bespoke training at all points in the skills pipeline in order to deliver solutions which respond to the needs of individuals, employers and the wider sector.”  

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “As an innovative, international University – committed to sharing our knowledge with the world – we are proud to play a central role in this partnership.

“Stirling are global leaders in the area of cultural heritage, and our expertise will help ensure this collaboration has a transformational impact in identifying and addressing world-wide challenges in heritage conservation.

We are also pleased this partnership will provide alternative pathways into education, from apprenticeship to Masters level, providing students with opportunities to reach their full potential and equipping them with skills to succeed in the modern world.”

About The University of Stirling

The University of Stirling is ranked fifth in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Stirling is committed to carrying out research which has a positive impact on communities across the globe – addressing real issues, providing solutions and helping to shape society.

Interdisciplinary in its approach, Stirling’s research informs its teaching curriculum and facilitates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration between staff, students, industry partners and the wider community.

At almost 50-years-young, Stirling retains a pioneering spirit and a passion for innovation. Its scenic central Scotland campus – complete with a loch, castle and golf course – is home to more than 12,000 students and 1,500 staff representing 120 nationalities. This includes an ever-expanding base for postgraduate study.

About Forth Valley College

Forth Valley College is a leading provider of further and higher education offering a wide range of courses and training opportunities. They welcome approx 14,500 students per academic session with 94% of learners progressing to further studies or employment upon completion of their course.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners.

Get involved on Twitter with #HHA2017

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 logo

Follow Historic Environment Scotland

Twitter: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory 

Facebook: @HistoricEnvScotland @VisitHistoricScotland


For further information, please contact:

Grant Thomson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8603
Mobile: 07580 702 611