A Barnoldswick woman is at the cutting edge of a new heritage scheme aimed at training a new generation in traditional canal maintenance skills.
Twenty-three-year-old Hayley Garrod, who lives on a canal boat in Barnoldswick, has begun a brand new 12-month programme with 13 others learning preservation skills such as lime mortaring, stone masonry and carpentry.
Hayley will be working for the Canal and River Trust on the Lancaster Canal with classroom work taking place at Bedale Heritage Craft Alliance residential college in North Yorkshire.
The horticulture graduate has previously run her own business for four years, worked on campsites and loves wildlife and the great outdoors.
She said: “It’s my dream job. This is perfect for me. Nature is what I’m about. I love being outdoors, seeing the seasons change, the canals relying on you and you being part of it.
“What you are doing feels valuable. I was very lucky – right place, right time. I’m still a bit overwhelmed.”
Hayley’s training is part of a £811,000 Waterway Heritage Skills project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – Skills for the Future programme (£607,000), the Radcliffe Trust (£9,000), the Norton Foundation (£2,000) and the Canal and River Trust.
For the next three years, 14 heritage skills trainees will be recruited each year on a 12-month programme leading to an NVQ level two in Heritage Waterways Management.
They will work alongside the Canal and River Trust’s staff across the country’s 200-year-old canal network on completing essential maintenance work tasks such as lock replacements and bridge repairs.