New research shows Houses of Parliament restoration will bring opportunities for the next generation of heritage and conservation specialists


Hundreds of new heritage craftspeople and conservation specialists will be needed to fill roles in traditional crafts ahead of the essential work to restore the Houses of Parliament buildings.

Heritage plasters and carpenters, stonemasons, and historic window restorers are just some of the jobs that will be in high demand throughout the Parliament restoration programme, and a national assessment of thousands of suppliers and training providers has found that more specialists will be needed in some areas.

Falling demand over decades has led to a smaller heritage and conservation industry that will need to be boosted ahead of the UK’s largest ever restoration programme to save the Palace of Westminster.

In some areas such as heritage plastering, research suggests that more than a third of the specialists currently working in the UK will be needed in the complex programme of essential work to restore Parliament. The restoration programme could also need as many as 34% of all heritage window specialists in the UK.

The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme (R&R) will work with heritage and conservation organisations to encourage people into these specialist professions and contribute to the restoration. Initiatives could include:

Funding bursaries to support people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to start careers in the heritage sector.
Working with centres of excellence across the UK to train people in traditional heritage and conservation skills.
Launch of a new website to give maximum visibility of procurement opportunities for suppliers.
Delivering additional pledges as part of our supply chain work to support heritage skills and training commitments such as apprenticeships, school engagement and work placements.
The restoration programme is committed to social mobility, diversity and developing skills for people across the UK as it completes the first phase of the project. A first group of apprentices has already joined the restoration teams, and an internship partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation is ongoing.

Specialists from across the UK are already involved with the extensive programme of surveys which have been taking place since the summer to build a detailed understanding of the buildings as the detailed and costed restoration plan is developed.

Mike Brown CBE MVO, Chair of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, said:

“Restoring Parliament will create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships across the UK, but this will hinge on getting the right numbers of skilled people to work with us.

“This Skills Assessment has allowed the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme to identify areas of shortage and engage with our key industries and training providers to create new jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities which will be vital to the restoration of one of the world’s most widely recognised buildings.”

Through a newly established joint ‘Heritage Client Group’ (including Historic England, CADW, Historic Environment Scotland and others), the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme will work with heritage and conservation organisations to explore a range of initiatives to encourage more people into high-demand professions.