The Prince's Foundation The Prince's Foundation
Tom Stainer, BCP student


Building Craft Programme


The Prince’s Foundation believe that it is crucial to preserve the wisdom and knowledge that embodies many of the traditional building skills which have shaped our historical built environment. As many workers in the sector now reach retirement age it is vital that these skills are passed on to the next generation of master craftspeople. Ensuring that we can continue to restore and conserve our history, but importantly demonstrate the significant role that traditional craft skills can play in creating new spaces and places.

Start Date

July 2021 (subject to change)

End Date

February 2022 (subject to change)


Eight months, full time


The Building Craft Programme is delivered across a number of different locations including The Prince’s Foundation headquarters, Dumfries House Estate in East Ayrshire, The Prince’s Foundation offices in London, and industry placements with craftspeople throughout the UK.


The Building Craft Programme is a full time, 8-month course which gives practical experience in traditional building skills and the opportunity to work towards a Level 3 NVQ in Heritage Skills.*

*a participants existing experience/qualifications and availability of assessors will be need to be considered prior to the opportunity to pursue a qualification being made available.

The course consists of 4 key components:

SUMMER SCHOOL: The course starts with an intensive three-week Summer School, delivered in London and Scotland. The Summer School is an opportunity to introduce participants to the broader teachings of The Prince’s Foundation and will include activities such as drawing classes, geometry and structure exercises, as well as architectural tours. During the second week, at the Dumfries House Estate in Scotland, you will take part in a series of hands-on craft workshops with master craftspeople, gaining an appreciation for the many different skills and materials which make up our built environment.

You can read more about the Summer School here

LIVE BUILD: The Live Build is an opportunity to work alongside your fellow participants and construction professionals to gain first-hand experience while completing a project onsite. Tackling the project together provides the opportunity to understand how your trade area fits into the wider built environment – to learn from and with craftspeople from other disciplines. The Live Build aims to strike a balance between being both an educational programme whilst highlighting many of the realities of a commercial, time-sensitive build.

In recent years, participants of The Prince’s Foundation programmes have restored a stone well tower at Highgrove, constructed a pavilion in the newly refurbished walled garden at Hillsborough Castle, erected a stone obelisk at Poundbury, and renovated an 1850’s game keepers’ cottage on the Dumfries House Estate.

You can read more about Live Build projects here

INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS: Following the Live Build, participants will undertake 12 weeks of industry placements with craftspeople around the UK. Placements are tailored towards your specific trade area and provide an excellent opportunity to build your practical skills, and gather vital evidence towards gaining the NVQ qualification. Participants will typically take place in 2 or 3 different placements with different organisations enabling you to build new networks throughout the sector.

BUSINESS SKILLS COURSE: The programme concludes with a week-long Business Skills course designed to introduce participants to many of the core skills required when setting up and running a business in the construction sector.


All successful candidates will be awarded a full scholarship covering the course fees and will receive a monthly bursary of £1000 to cover travel and living costs.

Accommodation is provided during the Introductory Programme, Live Build, Industry Placements (except when within 90mins of home address), and Business Skills course.


The Building Craft Programme is geared towards those with experience in craft areas such as: stonemasonry, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, blacksmithing, plastering, thatching, roofing and tiling, painting and decorating.

Applicants should have an interest in developing their craft with a focus towards heritage and traditional methods whilst striking a balance with 21st Century ways of working. The Building Craft Programme aims to highlight the holistic nature of our built environment and as such promotes multidisciplinary learning, providing exposure to elements of architecture, design and a range of craft skills.

The Building Craft Programme is not an entry level programme and to be successful in gaining a place on the course, candidates must have prior experience in their craft area of choice, either via college or onsite working experience.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:

  • NVQ/SVQ Level 2 or 3 or equivalent in a building craft/construction subject from a Centre of Vocational Excellence.
  • Qualification in a building craft/construction subject from a recognised authority.
  • Significant working experience in their chosen craft/trade area.

Read about one former student experience here


The Prince’s Foundation is proud to offer educational opportunities to students from all around the world.

Should you require a visa to study or work in the UK, it is important to note that whilst The Prince’s Foundation is a licensed student sponsor, this sponsorship does not extend to those undertaking the Building Craft Programme. Therefore, acceptance onto the Building Craft Programme alone is not sufficient to obtain the appropriate visa.

Please ensure that you are up to date with the latest UK visa guidance in advance of submitting your application.

Applications for 2021-22 session have now closed. To be added to the mailing list for the 2022-23 please contact Michael Goodger, Built Environment Education Manager