A couple of weeks ago Hereford College wrote to students part way through the 2 year long NETS training to tell them that funding had been withdrawn and the scheme would close in July. The trainees due to start in May and September have also been told the course will not go ahead.
The NETS training is an excellent scheme originally started by CoSIRA in the 1970s, it provided in post training in wheelwrighting, blacksmithing, upholstery, wood machining and thatching.
Trainees were most commonly taken on as an apprentice in a business and their training undertaken at Hereford under the NETS scheme. They did 12 weeks intensive skills training over a 2 year period.
HCA are very concerned about the loss of this facility which is symptomatic of the loss of craft skills training throughout further education provision. We are coordinating communication between the organisations concerned; the British Artists Blacksmiths Association, the Worshipful Companies of Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights, the Guild of traditional upholsterers and various other interested parties.
HCA trustees met last Saturday and discussed the issue of NETS closure we decided unanimously that we should do what we can to opose the closure and publicise the situation. We have written to Ian Peake the principle at Hereford expressing our concern and asking for various points of background information about the situation at Hereford. We will pass on any information as soon as we hear back and be putting out information to the press.