Construction experts and influential industry figures within the heritage sector gathered in London to attend the launch of the NFB’s Heritage Group.
The event was held on Tuesday 7 February at the historic Eltham Palace in South East London. The former Royal Palace, originally dating back to 1086, incorporated a medieval great hall with a showpiece Art Deco design house from the 1930s.
The launch of the NFB Heritage Group provided a forum to identify how the industry can address some of the challenges facing the built heritage sector.
Delegates heard from speakers representing influential organisations, including the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, English Heritage, the National Trust and the National Heritage Training Group.
The skills crisis facing the wider construction industry, and the heritage sector in particular provided much of the substance for debate. Nicola Dyer, heritage director at The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community opened the event by saying, “If we are to maintain our built heritage then we must train and retain the next generation of master craftsmen.”
The audience also heard inspiring stories from the National Trust, the National Heritage Training Group and the Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force about the work they deliver in supporting the training of young people in heritage skills to help meet the skills challenge in this important area.
NFB members Ellis & Co, who were winners of the NFB’s Heritage Project of the Year, showcased their company’s experience of restoring a 1650’s renaissance style stately home. They shared the challenges of working in a Grade 1 listed building and highlighted the importance of collaborative and flexible working relationships with statutory bodies and supply chains.
Clare Watson, chair of the NFB Heritage Group said, “The Heritage Group has been launched to provide a focus for meeting some of the challenges facing the heritage sector. My vision is for the group to engage with representatives from across the built heritage sector, including clients, training providers and NFB members to meet these challenges. I have been thrilled with the quality of the debate and the response to the launch event and it is my mission to make this a springboard to action.”