National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) is to receive a National Lottery grant of £403,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Skills for the Future Programme for its Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership 2 project, it was announced today. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will build on a previous project supported by HLF, developing traditional skills and techniques in young people, focusing on the conservation, handling and maintenance of historic vessels at a time when these skills are in serious decline.

An Example of some of the traditional skills that can be learnt whilst on such a program.

Hannah Cunliffe, Director of NHS-UK, said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported this scheme with a full grant. The funding will help young people learn the practical skills essential to the survival of the UK’s historic vessels. The project also includes the development of a series of short films to document skills in action, ensuring a lasting legacy which will benefit the wider sector.”


Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “It’s fantastic that money raised by National Lottery players can be used to support National Historic Ships and open up these valuable training opportunities for people across the UK. This project will provide comprehensive, paid placements to pass on traditional seamanship skills to the next generation and involve a wider range of people.”

The project will host 16, 12-month training placements with the following partner organisations: Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther; Excelsior Trust, Lowestoft; Sea-Change Sailing Trust, Maldon; Dauntsey’s School Sailing Club, Solent; Trinity Sailing Foundation, Brixham.  Pioneer Sailing Trust, Brightlingsea; Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich; and HMS Warrior, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. Trainees will be working with a variety of historic vessels at these sites, receiving specialist training in the significance of traditional craft and how to operate them safely and effectively. Starting in the Autumn, the first eight trainees will begin the programme at sea school in Cornwall, followed with a tailored course in historic vessel maintenance at the International Boatbuilding Training College, Lowestoft.

Trainees on the programme will learn all the seaman ship skills of sailing traditional vessels such as Excelsior.

National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) is a government funded, independent organisation which carries a wide remit, looking not only at the immediate issues concerning historic vessels in the UK, but also addressing their support infrastructure. NHS-UK maintains the National Registers which identify and promote some 2,000 vessels of historic significance to the UK and is the initiator and manager of the Shipshape Network, which was set up to promote the regeneration of traditional maritime skills, encourage regional activities and improve communication amongst heritage training schemes.

If you would like to find out more about the scheme, get in touch.