Traditional Building Skills Roadshow Evaluation Report
On 29 & 30 August 2023, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, Developing the Young Workforce and Fife and Tayside Traditional Buildings Forum hosted a two-day Traditional Building Skills Roadshow event with two local secondary schools, St. John’s RC Academy and Perth Grammar. The objective of the event was to introduce young people to the concept of a career in the heritage industry by providing them with opportunities to learn from and participate in various traditional practical workshops. Through these activities, students would learn about the skills needed to pursue a career in construction, restoring and maintaining heritage buildings to enhance their sustainability.
Demonstrations were led by industry professionals and representatives from T&M Stonemasonry, Wood Conservationist – The Woodkeeper, Forsters Roofing Services and Drystone Walling Perthshire, practical workshops were delivered on stone carving, traditional joinery, roof slating and drystone walling.
Following the success of the previous year’s roadshow (which was held at Perth Grammar School), the workshops were delivered on campus at St. John’s RC Academy, with Perth Grammar School students visiting on the first day. Marquees were constructed with Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust/Historic Environment Scotland branding to create a strong visual presence and energy. Hosting these events on school campus in this format is a good and effective way of engaging a wide range of students, expanding to beyond those who had signed up to take part and nurturing interest in those who perhaps had not previously heard of any of the heritage organisations involved.
For the event itself students were split into small groups, with each group spending an equal amount of time at each activity on rotation.
80 students attended in total.
The event was covered by local news channel STV, who broadcasted short interviews with students and members of staff as part of a wider promotional campaign.
The demonstration was led by Martin Tyler of Drystone Walling Perthshire. Students were taught how to erect and maintain a drystone wall via a series of hands on, practical demonstrations. They had access to appropriate tools and were explained traditional techniques.
The demonstration was led by Billy Traill of T&M Stonemasonry. Students were shown how to carve and dress historic stone with traditional tools and techniques. Tools and materials were kindly provided by HES.
The demonstration was led by Jonathan Schiavone, wood conservator from The Woodkeeper. Students were taught joinery repair techniques using traditional materials such as linseed oil putty and sand mastic. They were able to practically demonstrate their skills by repairing historic window sashes.
The demonstration was led by Forsters Roofing and students were introduced to traditional slating techniques. They were able to demonstrate their practical skills in dressing slates and fixing slates onto sarking boards using traditional copper clout nails.
Feedback response form and data analysis
Pupils were encouraged to complete a feedback form, particularly if they wished to take part in future short courses. The responses and information gathered can be found below.
Perth Grammar School feedback
Total number of attendees: 35
Total number of attendees who expressed an interest in returning for a 3-day short course: 33
Interested in Dry Stone Walling: 14
Interested in Joinery: 9
Interested in Roof Slating: 4
Expressed an interest in more than one trade: 7 (of these 7, 2 were interested in stone carving as one of the options).
11 students said that attending the event had inspired them to consider a future career in traditional crafts.
St. John’s RC Academy feedback
Total number of attendees: 45
Total number of attendees who expressed an interest in retuning for a 3-day short course: 40
Interested in Dry Stone Walling: 14
Interested in Joinery: 7
Interested in Roof Slating: 6
Interested in Stone Carving: 1
Expressed an interest in more than one trade: 12
22 students said that attending the event had inspired them to consider a future career in traditional crafts.
The PCHF team are now liaising with both schools to take forward this momentum gathered, in the form of short courses and hard hat tours.