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Keeping tradition alive in building sector

Scotland's long-awaited £8.4 million training school for the promotion of traditional building skills, the Engine Shed in Stirling, has taken a step closer to being realised, with the submission of its £3.5 million final Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

The disused and vandalised Victorian industrial building at Forthside, close to Stirling station, will open its doors to the public later this month, allowing visitors to see the transformation plan, expected to be completed in 2016.

Historic Scotland's head of traditional skills and maintenance, Colin Tennant, told the Sunday Herald the project was the first of its type in the world that would allow the public access to see at first hand the training in traditional skills required to maintain Scotland's vast wealth of traditional buildings. He said the centre would "teach the construction sector that they are part of the heritage sector and the heritage sector that they are part of the construction sector".

HS's technical outreach and education manager, Dorothy Hoskins, said: "We're very excited at how the project is developing. The Engine Shed will become the test ground and a hub for creating and delivering educational resources and training on traditional buildings and materials. This will be rolled out across the country through other Historic Scotland venues.

"Scotland's historic environment is considered a vital part of Scotland's culture and its economy, with around 450,000 traditionally constructed buildings, many still used for living and working in every day.

"Scotland has a skills gap and a lack of availability of high-quality, adequately skilled traditional contractors within the construction industry," she said. "Currently, there is a shortage of 5000 traditionally skilled workers to meet this demand."

The Engine Shed is taking part in Doors Open Day on September 6 (10am-4pm) where local people can view the proposals for the building and "get a flavour of what the centre will be like when it opens in 2016".

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