CITB, the construction industry training board, is ending its funding for the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG).
The NHTG was established at the same time as the Natural Stone Industry Training Group (NSITG)â€ˆin 2003. It always occupied a privileged position. It was initially awarded £1million by English Heritage (now Historic England) and in 2010 was awarded the largest single sum of the 54 successful projects in the £17million Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Skills for the Future’ programme.
NHTG was allocated £932,000 to be used to offer 60 traditional building craft skills placements in conjunction with English Heritage, National Trust, ConstructionSkills and regional partners in England.
But some have always questioned how much training the NHTG is actually delivering and CITBâ€ˆhas now decided its money will benefit the heritage sector more by being spent on funding construction industry federations and training groups that have a heritage theme.
The NHTG Board is upset. It believes there is still a role for it co-ordinating, promoting, lobbying and supporting the heritage sector. It says the organisation can continue to maintain a presence in the sector for a further three years by using existing resources, although it will have to economise and its general manager, Cathie Clarke, has agreed to continue on a part-time basis.
Ray Robertson, Chairman of the NHTG, puts a brave face on it. “We now have the opportunity of a radical reassessment of practicalities and priorities in establishing the most effective role and most productive activities that are best undertaken by the NHTG to support the industry.
“For the first time we will be a truly independent organisation. We have the exciting opportunity to change the title of the organisation so that it better reflects our priorities and objectives.”
Cathie Clarke adds: “The role of the NHTG is to encourage and assist heritage craft skills development at all levels across the industry. Over the past 12 months the NHTG has demonstrated its ability to respond to the needs of the sector and has increased its effectiveness and influence. It has provided a wide range of products and services, including