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Apprenticeship training course

Cultural heritage conservator (degree) (level 7)

Preserving objects that could be housed in archives, art galleries, libraries, museums and private collections.

Qualification level
Equivalent to master’s degree.
Typical duration
54 months
Apprenticeship category
Creative and design
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • Conservator
  • Specialist Conservator
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Assess the impact of the environment e.g. the temperature and light levels and their potential to cause changes to objects and collections.
  • Assess the physical nature of materials and collections.
  • Assess the condition of materials and collections
  • Assess the historical and cultural significance of cultural heritage materials. 
  • Undertake risk assessments on cultural heritage material e.g. if preparing an object for exhibition they need to be able to judge the vulnerability of the object and identify possible damages that might occur.
  • Consult and work with other allied professionals e.g. a wall paintings conservator working within a building may work closely with architects and builders.
  •  Identify and evaluate conservation options
  • Develop approaches for conservation issues which are non-routine and may be complex
  • Advise on any legislation, official guidance or organisational policy that affects areas of conservation practice. e.g. COSHH
  • Work effectively with others including conservators, clients and stakeholders (such as owners or curators) to agree course of action
  • Identify when no further action should be undertaken to an object e.g. if the item is too fragile
  • Prioritise objects for treatment
  • Implement agreed conservation measures. E.g. carry out practical treatments to objects or preventive conservation measures (such as implementation of integrated pest management or the cleaning and reconstruction of a chair) with a high level of skill, judgement and ethical consideration.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effect of conservation measures. e.g. use environmental monitoring equipment to assess a preservation environment in a display case
  • Prepare detailed reports following established guidelines and practices e.g. writing assessment reports, presenting options and documenting conservation measures applied.
  • Communicate recommendations and advice effectively
  • Ensure a safe working environment within the studio or onsite for themselves as well as for other staff and members of the public.
  • Identify the resources and materials required to support a project.  
  • Supervise projects or volunteers.
  • Supervise other conservation professionals e.g. freelance conservators
  • Plan, commission and conservation work
  • Reflect on and learn from current practice
  • Keep up to date with current thinking, skills and techniques in their area of practice.
  • Promote conservation and the care of cultural heritage to lay and expert audiences, including other professionals involved in cultural heritage or the built environment
  • Effectively implement ethical principles and guidelines related to areas of practice
  • Handle value conflicts and dilemmas e.g. those relating to religious objects
  • Identify where additional legal advice and support is required
  • Identify the limits of own understanding, and when to work with other practitioners.

Full information on Cultural heritage conservator (degree) (level 7) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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