Trainees learn to restore Haringey’s buildings

Architects, bricklayers, curators, labourers, tour guides and everything in between – the heritage industry encompasses a rich variety of roles and career opportunities for young people today.

Mark and Charlie get kitted up in the waiting room at Alexandra Palace

Two local lads have been learning just what it takes to work on exciting heritage projects in Haringey. Mark and Charlie were recruited as trainees by the North Tottenham Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation (External link). They spent 12 weeks getting to grips with restoration schemes in Alexandra Palace and Tottenham High Road as well as gaining educational qualifications and employment skills with the Foundation.

The trainees undertook work experience with construction company Willmott Dixon as they bring Alexandra Palace’s Victorian-era East Wing (External link) back to its full splendour and create a world-class tourist attraction. Here Mark and Charlie gained valuable insights into a highly-complex, large-scale construction project, and useful experience working alongside skilled professionals and experts in conservation.

On Tottenham High Road, at the smaller-scale THI conservation project with Cuttle Construction, Mark and Charlie were able to see how the knowledge they gained at Alexandra Palace on bricklaying and construction applied to the restoration of Victorian shopfronts.

During this time, Mark and Charlie also worked towards their educational goals; tutors ran Functional Skills courses, while Joanna Yeung, Heritage Project Manager at Spurs Foundation, supported the trainees with employment skills. They even had a chance to lead visitor tours of newly restored Percy House.


Mark said it was useful ‘getting a hands-on experience with all the trades’, while Charlie said he very much enjoyed the traineeship, especially learning about historic buildings and the listing process.

Both trainees are currently considering their next steps, supported by Employment and Skills consultants at Tottenham Hotspurs Foundation and Haringey Council. Mark is exploring options for an electrical apprenticeship, while Charlie is focussing on gaining the educational qualifications he needs to progress into construction.

This traineeship was supported by Haringey Council, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Willmott Dixon. The restoration of Alexandra Palace’s East Wing, Percy House, and North Tottenham shopfronts included in the THI scheme, are all supported by generous grants from Heritage Lottery Fund.

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