NHIG Heritage Blacksmiths’ Bursary

NHIG Heritage Blacksmiths’ Bursary

The NHIG Bursary Programme has now closed.

For full details of the programme please see the Evaluation Report.

Heritage Blacksmiths Evaluation Report (.pdf)

This project was made possible by a £350,200 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, awarded under its ‘Skills for the Future’ programme. The 10% match funding is made up from donations by Construction Skills, Historic Royal Palaces, British Artist Blacksmith Association, the Ironmongers Company, Eastlake & Beachell, Chris Topp & Co and the York Consortium for Conservation & Craftsmanship.Bursary sponsors logos v 2

Results Summary

“As a working blacksmith I had been asked to do things that seemed inappropriate to more than a few fine old pieces of ironwork. The course has given me the knowledge and authority to advise on the best course to take.”

2011-12 bursary trainee Alex Coode

For the Trainees

Out of the 16 trainees that started this programme 13 completed. All 13 achieved a full suite of the 7 NHIG Award mandatory units. While the majority of the optional units were also attained the Thermal Cutting proved difficult to gain the opportunity to achieve with the result that only 7 were awarded.

This programme was successful in seeding the blacksmithing craft with 13 people who are now proactive in the field of ironwork conservation. Although only on a small scale this has directly improved the quality and quantity of skills available to the heritage sector.

Of the trainees who completed the programme 100% of these are in employment all of which is in ether general blacksmithing (which includes heritage work projects) or metal conservation.
In addition, at the discretion of the assessor, ‘Best Of’ prizes were awarded as follows:

Year 1
Best Portfolio – Jo Adkins
Best Forgework – Piece Simon Doyle & Matt Boultwood joint winners

Year 2
Best Portfolio – Rowan Taylor
Best Forgework Piece – Paul Ashmore

For the Conservation Community

The bursary enabled NHIG to establish new and positive networks between blacksmithing practitioners, museums, conservation practices and institutes, including Hereford College of Technology, Historic Royal Palaces and St Pauls Cathedral, introducing them to each other and to the craft.

For Education

This programme was successful in developing and pioneering a vocational training programme for heritage blacksmithing at Level 3. This has provided a new and sustainable model for progressive learning in the heritage ironwork sector and therefore there is real potential that a long lasting training impact will result from this programme.

For the Future

A level 3 qualification is currently under development with City and Guilds with the intention of an Advanced Apprenticeship being up and running between August 2014 and August 2015. The heritage blacksmithing course developed by NHIG, through its Heritage Blacksmiths Bursary programme, is built into this scheme as a heritage pathway. With City and Guilds as the awarding body, this qualification will have national recognition. This development was led by the British Artist Blacksmiths Association, whose steering group of three members included the NHIG Education officer, who played a key role.

Currently the Advanced Apprenticeship pathway, as described above, is for work based training which will be open to people employed full time as apprentice. However, ultimately NHIG would also like to develop a technical higher education programme, at level 4 and above, that would include optional conservation pathways. This two pronged approach, with delivery modes varying from full-time to block release to part time distance learning, should therefore provide access to training for those who are working their way up through the educational system from foundation to advanced higher levels, or employed, or self-employed.

In addition, while NHIG have no plans to run another bursary, they wish to establish contact and work with other bursary providers to help ensure that there are opportunities for blacksmiths within their schemes.

NHIG Trainee Placement at Hampton Court Palace

By working together the NHIG and Historic Royal Palaces were able to establish a work placement for the Bursary Trainees at Hampton Court Palace, working on the Tijou Screen.

NHIG Bursary trainee placement at Hampton Court Palace (.pdf)