Heritage Skills Demand Group

The Heritage Skills Demand Group (HSDG) is a topic group endorsed by the Historic Environment Forum (HEF). It operates within the wider principles of the HEF.

Convening the HSDG is specifically referenced as a target action of the Heritage Sector Resilience Plan:

“Reconvene the Heritage Skills Demand topic group, with a view to developing a prioritised plan of action to both increase awareness of the cost, efficiency and quality benefits of employing heritage expertise, and improve the ease of access to heritage skills.”

The work of the HSDG aims to help to stimulate demand for heritage skills by identifying ways to help owners of heritage assets to better understand when they may need to use a heritage professional, as well as how to find the appropriate skillset. The group is interested in achieving high-quality outcomes for heritage, as well as a sustainable balance of demand and supply in the heritage skills market. Terms of Reference for the group can be found here.

The group has begun to draw up outline solutions to help stimulate the demand for heritage skills. The potential programme includes:

  • Collating existing research.
  • Understanding the wide range of owner/other stakeholders.
  • Clarifying heritage language not understood by outsiders.
  • Targeting ‘hard to reach’ owner/other stakeholder groups.
  • Amending the NPPF/NDMP to demand more rigorous heritage analysis whenever planning/LBC applications are made.
  • The ‘Shared Initiative’ web portal project commenced by the earlier Client Demand Topic Group (underway).
  • Exploring Quality Assurance and accreditation issues.

HSDG’s membership includes representatives from several HEF organisations alongside other organisations with an interest in the topic. HSDG would welcome further members from both HEF and non-member organisations who are committed to expanding the demand for heritage skills and willing to participate actively in HSDG’s work and projects.  

The HEF Manager currently provides secretariat support to the HSDG, and the group is jointly Chaired by representatives from the Country Land and Business Association and the Institute of Conservation.

If you are interested in joining the group, please contact at HEFsteering@historicenvironmentforum.org.uk