�522,000 lottery grant to help Gressenhall Farm and Workshop preserve traditional skills

More than �500,000 of lottery funding will help to preserve and pass on traditional skills through 15 new trainee positions at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Skills for the Future will help extend the scheme which secured �617,800 in January 2011, and created 58 training places at Gressenhall and the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket.

The extra places at Gressenhall will be offered in traditional farming, heritage gardening, heritage estate management, collections management and traditional skills learning.

There will also be a curatorial training programme that will involve other sites in Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service.

Oscar Smith, 17, from Hethersett, near Norwich, said the 18-month apprenticeship he started last August would open up career options in areas such as commercial farming, carriage driving and working at other museums.

He has been working with Suffolk Punch horses as well as sowing seeds, laying hedges in Norfolk and Suffolk and studying for a level two NVQ in mixed farming at Easton College once a week.

He said: 'If you think in 50 years time none of the people will be around to do [traditional skills] and then that will be something that's completely lost and like anything, whether it's farming or any other skill, it would be such a shame to think we are never going to get that back again.'

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Barry Stone, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for cultural services, said: 'The Gressenhall traineeships provide an opportunity for young people and adults from different backgrounds to develop skills and knowledge in a specific area of traditional skills.

'This will further strengthen the specialist workforce that we have in the heritage and historic environment sectors in Norfolk.'

For more information about the programme, including current training vacancies, see the Skills for the Future webpage http://bit.ly/ynXOCi

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