Hands-on careers day at St Conan’s Kirk

David Gilchrist and Mark Bambrough recently removed St Conan's rose window for it to be restored to its former glory.

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Young people are being invited to get hands on with conservation work at historic St Conan’s Kirk.

Later this month the church, on the shores of Loch Awe, will be hosting its first careers day.

Invites have been sent out to students at Oban and Lochgilphead High Schools, as well as Argyll College.

It was the idea of Friends of St Conan’s in a bid to get more young people involved in preserving the church for future generations to enjoy.

Experts from architects to graphic designers and stonemasons to sculpture repairers will be there on Friday September 20 to tell their own stories of how they got into that kind of work, from qualifications to apprenticeships and placements, and they will talk about their role in helping conserve the historic building.

There will be lots of demonstrations and the chance for students to get hands-on.

With plenty of time for questions and answers, there will be about eight different stations for students to visit during the day, covering everything from monument restoration to specialist stone cleaning, masonry restoration and pointing and the need for graphic design in advertising and information materials.

It means students taking part will be able to say they have helped conserve St Conan’s – some of the hands-on opportunities are hoped to include cleaning stonework in the church’s two side chapels working with granite, sandstone and marble.

Organisers hope students interested in getting jobs in creative and construction industries will take up the offer and get involved.

The initiative is part of a commitment made by St Conan’s to Historic Environment Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund in return for their support.

Friends of St Conan’s chairman Peter Hennessey said: ‘This day’s experience will encounter the central themes of Curriculum for Excellence and creative and construction industries and will give an in site into the wider world of conservation trades and professions.’