Basic Heritage Construction Skills for the future of the Town Walls

February 2020

As a result of a partnership developed between Pembroke Town Walls Trust, Pembrokeshire College and the Tywi Centre, nine Level 1 Bricklaying learners have been following a twenty-week heritage construction course to support their learning.  

The Basic Heritage Construction Skills course was funded by the Pembroke Town Walls Trust through HLF and offered to bricklaying students at the College who wanted to extend their skills.

The current curriculum for bricklayers does not include any content relating to traditional construction materials or methods although at least 30% of Pembrokeshire’s buildings were built before 1919.  According to CITB, just under half of employers’ time is spent working on traditional buildings.

Howard Rudge, Chair of the Pembroke Town Walls Trust, said, “The aim of the training is to create pathways for construction students into heritage trades and further qualifications in this area.  There is currently a shortage of appropriately qualified and skilled people to work on our built heritage assets including the Pembroke Town Walls. We hope to be able to continue to support and develop this training in future years.”

The Tywi Centre is a traditional skills training organisation based in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire providing all levels of training and education relating to our built heritage.

Helena Burke, the Heritage Skills and Project Officer for Carmarthenshire based at the Tywi Centre said, “The students have benefited from the opportunity to learn about traditional buildings alongside their brickwork training. They were given the opportunity to meet many people from the heritage industry providing insight and inspiration into possible career opportunities.  They learnt how to work with a range of traditional materials including different categories of lime mortars and a range of stone and brick types, and about building defects and the potential effects of using inappropriate materials to repair traditional buildings.”

As a result of this course, the learners have been able to put their new skills and knowledge into practice on a real construction site, to experience working on a listed structure and appreciate the importance of protecting it for future generations. The site experience provided an opportunity to practice working safely, working as a team and understanding the potential environmental impact of construction work.

The students came to Pembroke on 26th February to look at the work the Pembroke Town Walls Trust has done and is planning to do to restore the walls, and to receive their certificates.