A Newquay man’s apprenticeship has been such a “monumental” success he has taken on a full-time role helping protect Cornwall’s heritage. 

Archaeological technician Linus Firth has become one of Cornwall National Landscape’s first apprentices who have graduated and secured employment in the £1.2 million National Lottery Heritage Funded project, A Monumental Improvement.   

Linus was thrilled to join the project in October 2022: “The opportunity to work in Cornwall’s heritage-rich landscape, helping to protect and enhance archaeological sites at risk, has been a pleasure and I have learnt a huge amount on the complexities of working in a designated landscape and how it protects our heritage for future generations to enjoy.” 

Linus supports experienced Archaeological Officer Jeanette Ratcliffe to deliver the archaeological programme, including commissioning geophysical surveys of monuments such as an iron age cliff castle and an early medieval chapel, and carrying out conservation repairs and archaeological recording on a stone circle. 

The value of the apprenticeship scheme is clear to Linus who, through the project, have been introduced to the cream of Cornwall’s crop of heritage professionals. Due to partnership working and the project delivery they have had the opportunity to learn from a wide range of people during their time with Cornwall National Landscape (AONB), which is a rare opportunity for apprentices. 

Linus said: “Not only have I made connections and developed a network of support that has set me up for a great start to my career, but I am also incredibly proud of what the project has achieved so far. I am looking forward to continuing to deliver the project’s core aim of removing sites from the Heritage at Risk register.” 

Both apprentices have progressed successfully to full time positions with the Monumental Improvement project. James, the new Admin Officer will continue to raise the profile of the project, with added responsibilities of communication and marketing, reaching out to new audiences and connecting them with Cornish heritage. 

In his new role as Archaeological Assistant, Linus will be producing interpretation materials for several of the sites included in the project, including physical panels with an up-to-date history of the site, and further archaeological data and models hosted online, which will be accessible through QR codes on sites such as King Arthurs Hall, Castle Dore and The Rumps. 

“It has been a real pleasure being part of the process of seeing Linus and James’s integration into our team. Then supporting them as they grew into the key team members they now are.” Activities Officer, Iain Rowe.

The Monumental Improvement partnership, Cornwall AONB Trust and wider Cornwall National Landscape team have supported both apprentices, providing learning opportunities and specific training to boost their employability upon completion of their qualifications. 

Project Development Officer Coralie Barrow said: ‘The whole process from recruitment, development, growth and completion has been a hugely rewarding journey for us all at the National Landscape, and it is the first time we have taken on apprentices in the 60+ years of the organisation. The apprentices have brought new ideas and fresh perspectives that have contributed significantly to our delivery’. 

• To find out more about the project, visit cornwall-landscape.org/project/a-monumental-improvement