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Stackyard News May 2012

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More Success for North Pennines Heritage Skills Project

The North Pennines AONB Partnership has been awarded £56,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to extend its highly successful Heritage Landscape Skills project.

Heritage Skills trainee at work

Louis Fell

Four more people will now be trained in dry stone walling and another graduate trainee will be offered a conservation and land management traineeship.

The AONB Partnership originally won funding of £109,500 in 2010 to give six ‘apprentices’ the chance to learn the skills which will help conserve some of the region’s most beautiful landscapes for future generations.

Two years into the four-year project, three people have successfully completed their training. Two walling trainees worked with local professional wallers to finish their placements with good qualifications and are now working on a mix of wet and dry stone walling. Two more are currently working towards their Level 2 qualifications in Weardale, County Durham. A graduate trainee has spent 12 months on a variety of assignments from surveying hay meadows for reseeding to helping with farm environment plans, interpretation, education and access work.

Lesely Silvera, The AONB Partnership’s Project Development Officer said: “A big part of the traineeships is to work with our partner organisations in the AONB to gain a whole range of skills. Managing a river restoration project with the Wear Rivers Trust was a fantastic experience for the Conservation and Land Management trainee. Working with local walling businesses gives walling trainees the chance to get experience of the difficulties of upland environments where the land is often boggy and steep and where the work has to be done to schedule.”

This experience is converted into certificated qualifications at a rigorous test at the end of the training with the help of LANTRA and the Dry Stone Walling Association. The HLF’s Skills for the Future programme aims to not only support traditional conservation training but also help people learn a wide variety of more contemporary skills, such as managing volunteers and digitising archives and landscape surveying, helping to reinvigorate and broaden the appeal of the heritage industry to jobseekers.

For more information please contact Lesley Silvera at the AONB Staff Unit on 01388 528801 (

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