Traditional Building Skills Programme

  • QEST and the Prince’s Foundation 

    Traditional Building Skills Programme




    QEST (the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) and the Prince’s Foundation are collaborating to deliver an innovative training programme in traditional building skills, linking short courses and workshops with a series of live training builds on heritage sites across the UK. Through a focus on practical, project-based, education this course will not only further develop technical skills and knowledge, but also provide site-based learning and training in business skills vital to the development of the next generation of skilled craftspeople.



    Course Overview:

    The course starts with an intensive series of workshops at Dumfries House, providing an introduction to topics such as traditional architecture, drawing, geometry and the principles of sustainable development. Hosted at the Dumfries House Estate in Scotland, this residential week long course will provide a grounding in the principles and practices of the Prince’s Foundation and QEST and provide participants with an introduction to the year ahead. Following this introductory course, participants will take part in an intensive year long programme, including:

    • Taking part in a series of ‘live build’ projects at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, The Dumfries House Estate in Scotland and the Royal Gardens at Highgrove. Sitting at the heart of this programme, the live builds are a once in a lifetime opportunity to construct a structure from start to completion using traditional materials and techniques. An educational build, the projects are done completely by students on the programme while being overseen by skilled tutors, to guide and provide assistance as needed. With a focus on multidisciplinary learning, alongside their own trades, students will be given the chance to work on a range of other trades as well as provide design input throughout the process.
    • In addition to the Live Builds, students will be able to spend some time on short placements with craftspeople and firms in their sector, to learn first-hand from masters in the trade.
    • In collaboration with industry partners, a series of short courses will be delivered throughout the year at the Dumfries House Estate and in London, covering topics across the building crafts, decorative and applied arts, drawing and sketching, architecture and urbanism and more.
    • The opportunity to go on short specialist placements with leading firms and master craftspeople.
    • Participants will be given the option of pursuing an NVQ 3 Heritage Skills over the course of this programme, although this will not be a required element.
    • Throughout the course there will be a focus on the development of business skills, including the running of an intensive short course in this area. Mentoring support will also be provided from our network of alumni.


    Bursary, Accommodation and Travel:

    This is a free programme and all participants will be paid a monthly bursary of £1,000 a month. In addition to this, accommodation will be provided for the duration of the live builds. Students will be expected to use the bursary to cover any additional living and travel costs that may arise throughout the duration of the programme.


    Course Dates:

    The course runs from October 2018 – September 2019. The below breakdown is subject to change but is as follows:

    1st – 7th October: Introductory Course at Dumfries House

    8th October – 22nd December: Live Build at Hillsborough Castle

    23rd December – 6th January: Winter Break

    7th – 13th January: London Short Course

    14th January – 22nd January: Winter School at Dumfries House

    23rd January – 3rd May: Live Build at Dumfries House

    19th May – 30th June: Dumfries House and/or external placements

    1st July – 28th September: Live Build at Highgrove



    Application Process:

    The students we recruit for the programme usually come to us with a Level 2 or 3 NVQ or a significant amount of work experience within their chosen trade. The Live Builds will predominantly employ the following trades, although we welcome applicants from other trades: stonemasonry, woodwork (joinery, carpentry, timber framing), plastering, blacksmithing, bricklaying, thatching and painting and decorating.

    We ask for the submission of a written application alongside a portfolio – click here to download the form.

    Please send all completed applications to:

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