Two young Lancashire women are trail blazing by taking part in a new national canal heritage course aimed at training a new generation in traditional canal maintenance skills.
Hayley Garrod (23) and Chloe Payne (18) are among 14 trainees who have just started a 12-month workplace programme which will equip them with skills such as lime mortaring, stone masonry and carpentry.
The pair will work with our staff on the Lancaster Canal. Part of their training will be on the job and part classroom-based at Bedale Heritage Craft Alliance residential college in North Yorkshire.
Hayley lives on a canal boat in Barnoldswick. As a horticulture graduate, she has run her own gardening business for four years, worked on campsites and loves wildlife and the outdoor life. She spotted the job online and went for it. She says: “This is perfect for me. Nature is what I’m about. I love being outdoors, seeing the seasons change, the canals relying on you and you being part of it. What you are doing feels valuable. I was very lucky – right place, right time. I’m still a bit overwhelmed.”
Chloe, from Rossendale, joined the course fresh from gaining a distinction on a countryside management course at Burnley College. She is particularly inspired by the heritage preservation work and adds: “I like the conservation side of it, like dry stone walls. If you let them go downhill, they won’t be there anymore. I am really enjoying it.”
Their training is part of a £811,000 Waterway Heritage skills project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – Skills for the Future programme (£607,000), the Radcliffe Trust (£9,000), the Norton Foundation (£2,000) and the Canal & River Trust.
For the next three years, 14 heritage skills trainees will be recruited each year on a 12-month programme leading to an NVQ level two in Heritage Waterways Management. They will work alongside our staff across the country on essential maintenance work such as lock replacements and bridge repairs.