The 12 month training placements will give these new trainees the chance to learn the art of using lime mortar, working with stone and carpentry skills while repairing centuries-old brick work, whilst working towards a NVQ Level 2 qualification.
The project has reached the second stage of the bidding process of the HLF ‘Skills for the Future' programme. If the project passes this second stage it will secure an investment of £607,000 and be able to start recruitment in the summer of 2014.
If successful, 14 training positions will be open each year, with the course set to start in 2014 at locations across England and Wales.
Jason Leach, enterprise team manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: "We are delighted to have made the second round of the HLF bidding process and are looking forward to the next round. The canals are a wonderful place to see heritage in action and we actively encourage people to have a play with a lock, explore a tunnel by boat or just take a walk along the towpath. This is a really exciting time for everyone working on this project and we have our fingers crossed that we make it through this important stage."
Nigel Crowe, head of heritage for the Canal & River Trust, said: "We have over 2,000 miles of canals in England and Wales which are a fantastic example of the nation's working heritage. We need lots of people to help us look after the waterways and we need to take every opportunity to develop their skills and show them why heritage is so important. So what better way is there than to lead the training ourselves, and if we secure this funding from the HLF that is exactly what we intend to do."