Funding heritage training at York Minster

Benefact Trust funded York joiner, Will Dixon

Funding heritage training at York Minster

Published: 02 April 2024
Benefact Trust has awarded £71,726 to York Minster through its Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings grants programme. The funding is enabling apprentice joiner, William Dixon, to undertake a four-year apprenticeship at the cathedral; gaining valuable skills and experience for a successful career in the heritage sector.
York Minster is one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals, at the centre of Christianity since the seventh century. It has a rich tradition of heritage crafts, with one of the oldest and largest workforces and stoneyards in the country. Every part of York Minster’s ancient building is exquisite, from handcrafted stone to its unrivalled collection of medieval stained glass.
Apprentices have enjoyed the chance to train with the cathedral’s skilled craftspeople since medieval times and today’s trainees learn across a complex and ongoing cycle of repair, restoration and conservation. 
With the continued challenge of young people entering the heritage skills sector and a rapidly aging workforce, Benefact Trust’s apprentice joiner will help reverse this trend by offering sustainable and much needed experience in the craft of heritage joinery. 
During 2024, Will’s work will include working on joinery across the Minster’s estate, understanding the opportunities and challenges within listed buildings and how to overcome them. He will also be one of the first apprentices to benefit from York Minster’s new Centre of Excellence for Heritage Skills and Estate Management where he will use cutting edge technology and facilities, interacting with heritage professionals from around the world and inspiring young visitors to pursue a career in this field. 
Hear more about the apprenticeship in Will’s own words:

The Trust resonates with the work York Mister is doing to secure the future of our heritage buildings, but also careers within the heritage sector. The Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings grant follows funding we awarded towards developing their innovative centre of excellence. 

Alexander McCallion, Director of Precinct and Works said: “Apprentices are the lifeblood of the Minster’s continuing work and development and we are absolutely delighted to welcome Will as our new Benefact Trust apprentice joiner. The Trust’s generous support for heritage skills for Christian buildings enables the training of the next generation of heritage crafts professionals who will work on one of the most iconic buildings in the country. We look forward very much to seeing Will’s experience and skills grow and to working with him on many different joinery projects. We are very grateful to the Trust for their investment in our work and the future of heritage skills”.

Paul Playford, Senior Grants and Operations Officer for Benefact Trust, said: "It is a privilege to support William’s apprenticeship at York Minster. This is not only a fantastic opportunity for him to gain skills and experience in one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world; it is another talented individual securing the future of the cathedral.

“This latest grant is in addition to funding we awarded last year, which is helping to develop York Minster’s Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management. We’re delighted to be able to support this innovative project which is inspiring the next generation of heritage crafters.”

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