17 May 2021
This spring, online work placements at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings began. This marked a new way of delivering learning opportunities linked to the wider regeneration of the Flaxmill Maltings.
Historic England’s Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings team, with agreement from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has adapted existing methods of working to find an innovative way to temporarily deliver work placements online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This new programme will allow participants to gain knowledge of working in the heritage sector, while also developing the soft skills expected from a traditional work placement including team-working with colleagues and peers, problem-solving and attending meetings.
Over the last year, whilst Covid-19 restrictions have been in place, the majority of the traditional face-to-face work placements planned could not take place. With over 50 work placements left to deliver by March 2024, this new online engagement method will allow people to continue benefitting from the learning opportunities the project has to offer.
Placements will last a minimum of five days and all will include an induction to the Flaxmill Maltings site, as well as work on live project activities. Participants will be supported to develop useful skills for working with historic building conservation and regeneration projects.
Opportunities for placements are being explored across several project areas including heritage management, public engagement and marketing, and e-learning. Historic England is also working with project partners and suppliers to explore the potential for hosted placements.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), via its Growth Deal with Government, has provided £2 million of funding to the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings regeneration project. The works funded are integral to bringing the Flaxmill Maltings back to life for a third century of use and work placements are just one of the outputs from this part of the programme.
Innovation is part of the DNA of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings – the world’s first iron-framed building – and we are pleased that a new way to run placements online for the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings project has been conceived and agreed.
The programme of placements will offer opportunities for participants to develop skills and experience in working with the historic built environment, covering a range of roles and activities across the heritage sector from e-learning and marketing, to heritage management. The online placements have got off to a great start, with one participant commenting that although the days were very intense, they felt immersed and engaged in the material and motivated to work hard.Juliet Baillie, Sector Skills Adviser
The aim of the Marches LEP is to drive economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, through investment in innovation, higher level skills, housing and business sites.
The Marches LEP funding awarded to the Flaxmill Maltings project in 2018 focused its outputs around innovation, skills and jobs creation, supporting businesses and encouraging growth within our region.
We are pleased that the construction project has continued to move forwards during a difficult year. The works include the new road into site which will provide access to the Main Mill and Kiln, and support any future regeneration of the Cross Mill, Warehouse and Apprentice House. Future sustainable transport plans will be helped by the creation of a new coach drop off and collection point and the work completed on the highway in front of the Main Mill will enable better and safer access to the site for pedestrians. We are also excited to see the programme of online placements that Historic England are putting together coming to fruition.
The completion of the Marches LEP funded works will mark a huge step forwards in enabling the Flaxmill Maltings to become a thriving hub where communities can come together to work, visit, learn and live.Mandy Thorn MBE, Chair
Marches Local Enterprise Partnership
Built in 1797, the Flaxmill Maltings had two centuries of use, first as a flax mill, then a maltings and also as a training centre and barracks during World War II.
The restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is currently taking place thanks to a £20.7 million grant from National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government, and from project partners Historic England, Shropshire Council and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.
The programme of work part-funded by the Marches LEP is hugely important to the Flaxmill Maltings project, and is well underway.
Works to bring vital utilities into site are complete and works on opening up the site for the future housing scheme, visitor experience and commercial space are in their final stages.
The delivery of work placements online offers individuals wanting a future career in heritage and related sectors an exciting new way to engage and it’s great that participants will still be able to gain workplace skills during these challenging times.Alastair Godfrey, Project Lead
The revitalised site will become a new learning and enterprise quarter for Shrewsbury, with high quality offices for the region’s growing creative industries that will help drive the town’s renaissance as a regional economic hub, as it was when Shropshire led the way in the Industrial Revolution. There will also be a new visitor experience managed by the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings and a café open to the public.
The Main Mill and Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will open in 2022, with the new visitor experience and café opening on the ground floor and the top four floors available for commercial tenants.