AN exciting programme of traditional skills training and education is underway in Carmarthenshire as part of Ancient Connections – a cross-border arts and heritage project linking Wexford and Pembrokeshire.

The Tywi Centre has been delivering traditional building skills training in Wales since 2009, but this new project provides an opportunity to work with experts and communities over in Ireland.

During the project the Tywi Centre will work with heritage specialists in both regions to develop training and produce educational resources. Crafts such as lime plastering, traditional carpentry, thatching, and stonemasonry will be the focus.

Workshops are open to anyone with an interest in built heritage, old and listed buildings and participants will be supported by workshops and seminars on topics such as essential repair and maintenance, improving energy efficiency and understanding the process of applying for consents for work.

As part of the project, six people with an interest in working in the industry, will also be selected to follow an exciting programme of training and work experience. They will follow courses relating to a range of skills that are essential for the appropriate repair and maintenance of older, solid walled buildings. They will also be able to put their new skills into practice by working alongside skilled crafts people on real heritage projects.

The Tywi Centre is based in Llandeilo and is part of Carmarthenshire County Council. Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs and Planning Policy Cllr Ann Davies said: “It is so important that people have the skills and knowledge to repair and maintain older buildings for future generations to enjoy.

“The built heritage of both North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford is spectacular, and this cross-border project will provide a number of exciting opportunities for local people to learn new skills from experts within this sector, and creating plenty of opportunities for future work.”

An event celebrating the built heritage and the wonderful craftspeople who keep them in good repair will be held at the end of the project. This will be an opportunity for people to learn about traditional crafts, try their hand at something new, and to meet people who can support them to care for their buildings appropriately.

Ancient Connections is led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme.

Ancient Connections Project Manager Rowan Matthiessen said: “We are thrilled to be working with The Tywi Centre. The work experience programme is particularly exciting, and we hope that it will create new jobs in the heritage building sectors in both regions.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Alan Jones from Pembrokeshire Thatch and Carpentry Services.