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Prince Charles cultivates traditional construction workers

The Prince of Wales has yet again thrown his weight behind historical architecture, by launching an apprentice scheme which will attempt to reverse the loss of traditional construction skills.

The Prince of Wales's Building Crafts Apprentices Programme will enable young people to learn crafts like stonemasonry, decorative bricklaying, carpentry, plasterwork and leadwork skills.

The move follows a report funded by the National Heritage Training Group, published in 2005, which found that thousands more traditional craftsmen and women are needed to repair the nation's historic architecture.

Prince Charles's educational charity, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, has established the programme, and is spending more than £400,000 a year setting up the scheme.

It is thought up to 20 students a year will spend eight months taking part in the programme, which will only be open to those who have completed a National Vocational Qualification in a traditional building skill.

The scheme will help the students build on their existing knowledge with courses, a summer school, and work experience with master craftsmen.

It is hoped the first building-crafts apprentices will begin their training in the Spring 2007.

by Richard Vaughan

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