Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Young people get a taste of the past

Young people from Leith have gained hands-on experience of traditional building skills.

Mar 22, 2011

As part of the Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative, the group of 12 Leith Academy 4th year pupils have spent the past five weeks trying out skills, including decorative plastering, graining and marbling, and stonemasonry. Site visits to St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle and Historic Scotland workshops at Croft-an-Righ were also part of the programme, bringing the young people into contact with apprentices and skilled craftsmen involved in the industry.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the initiative has been a collaboration between the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh World Heritage, Telford College, and the Citadel and Junction youth centres.

Participant, Blair Robertson (15), said: "I'm not sure yet whether I'll stay on in school after the summer and so this provided a good opportunity to experience what this sort of work would be like. I really enjoyed how hands-on the course was, particularly the stonemasonry, and this definitely gives me something to think about for the future."

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Economic Development Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "Unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, remains one of Edinburgh's main economic challenges.

"This initiative is a great example of how we are working with our partners across the city to find innovative ways of helping Edinburgh's young people on the path towards employment. I'm sure that skills and experience that these young people have gained over the past five weeks will be of use in whatever career they choose."

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: "We are delighted to be a part of this excellent initiative, encouraging young people to engage with heritage in a hands-on way.

"Everyone benefits from this type of activity, as the participants get to see other possible career paths, and at the same time understand far more about the efforts that go into caring for our historic buildings. We very much hope to be able to offer more of this type of outreach activity in the future."

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "We congratulate these young people on what they have achieved. They have grasped this opportunity to learn new skills and have hopefully been inspired to develop them further.

"Learning skills can not only make a difference to a person's own life but are critical in seeing the country through this downturn and the recovery that will follow."

The course finished on 22nd March with a presentation of certificates to the participants by Michael Levack, Chief Executive of the Scottish Building Federation, at Edinburgh World Heritage's offices.

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