Traditional Building Skills

Following the success of traditional building skills workshops delivered as part of past projects, most recently through the Tay Landscape Partnership (2014-18), the Trust is continuing to develop and provide new training projects and roadshows. The training programme recognises the potential for significant social and economic benefits for academically disengaged and disadvantaged people to experience traditional building skills in a practical working environment. It also targets an acknowledged skills gap in the building sector and difficulties in creating pathways between the school curriculum and industry.

The objective is to create opportunities for young people to actively experience traditional building skills and give them the tools and practical understanding to make an informed decision about their own abilities and future career options, whilst creating and developing links between schools and interested young people, and potential employers and colleges.

Project Funders:

Historic Environment Scotland
The Guildry Incorporation of Perth
The Gannochy Trust Perth Civic Trust
Jimmie Cairncross Charitable Trust
Thomson Charitable Trust

A city training venue with Perth and Kinross Association of Voluntary Service (PKAVS) Walled Garden at Murray Royal, run by PKAVS as part of their Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub. Coordinated by Frew Conservation, the training followed the approach taken by Tay Landscape Partnership's (TLP) Megginch Castle project: a series of placements in basic traditional masonry skills for high school pupils, colleges and PKAVS volunteers and service users. Each trainee received a certificate and feedback has been very positive so far.

Traditional Building Skills, Murray Royal Walled Garden

St John's Academy pupils and trainer preparing joints for repointing with lime at Murray Royal Walled Garden (photo Craig Frew).


The second venue, Castle Huntly Prison, has continued on the same basis as the TLP pilot of 2017 focusing on up-skilling both staff and prisoners in lime and masonry skills. Coordinated by Hans Norling from Masonry and Lime, the project aims to deliver part of the training on sites outside the prison, for public benefit and to prepare the trainees for potential future jobs at a stonemasonry company.

Upon completion, participants receive certificates of their Vocational Skills Training in Traditional Building Conservation. The prison has been very accommodating to the training and the participants very enthusiastic. One of the trainees, who didn’t think he would find the training as interesting and worthwhile when he signed up, expressed to his trainer:

“how much his confidence had grown in carrying out the work and he felt really good about it.”

Through the Perth City Heritage Fund, the Trust has been working in partnership with the Fife and Tayside Traditional Building Forum (the regional branch of the Scottish Traditional Building Forum) to address the skills shortage by promoting traditional skills to young people at an annual roadshow. 

The event offers secondary school pupils at career choices stage opportunities to try their hands at traditional crafts such as roof slating, stone masonry, specialist joinery and craft painting & decorating under the guidance of local professionals.

Completed Building Skills Projects

Historic Churchyards

A two year project on the historic churchyards of East Perthshire, conserving structures, improving management and engaging with members of the local community to celebrate these remarkable repositories of religious and secular life.


Bridging Perthshire's Past

A 3-year project that conserved bridges and promoted the history of General Wade’s military roads and bridges through publications and signage, school teaching packs and life-long learning projects.


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