The Mills Section has become increasingly concerned regarding the decline in millwrighting skills in the UK and in particular, millwright training. In common with other areas of the heritage sector, many of the long established traditional family firms engaged in millwrighting have gone out of business and have been replaced by smaller, typically, sole trader firms. These ‘one-man bands’ do not have the resources to train apprentices and as a result there are very few new entrants into millwrighting.
To make provision for the training of future millwrights and ensure the future of the milling heritage sector, the Mills Section has now begun work to address this shortfall by initiating a Millwrighting Skills Programme. The Section’s plan is to create a permanent self-sustaining Millwrighting Training Academy. In 2015 the Pilgrim Trust awarded a grant to the Mills Section, which allowed the employment of a Millwrighting Skills Programme manager which in turn facilitated investigations into the development of this training programme: to develop a training curriculum, to identify partners and training organisations, to ascertain potential training projects, to explore potential locations for the Programme to be based and to secure additional grant funding to develop and implement the identified systems and processes required to launch the Programme.
Look out for updates over the coming months.