York Minster has received a major fundraising boost to help it train an apprentice joiner to help protect the future of the 7th Century cathedral.

One of the UK’s largest charitable donators, the Benefact Trust has donated £71,726 to support the costs of apprentice joiner, William Dixon.

The funding boost comes as the minster also receives £500,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The minster has been training skilled craftspeople since medieval times.


Today’s trainees learn across a complex and ongoing cycle of repair, restoration and conservation.

York Minster says the Benefact Trust apprentice joiner will help reverse an aging workforce at the minster by offering sustainable and much needed experience in the craft of heritage joinery.

During 2024, Will’s work will include working on joinery across the Minster’s estate, understanding the opportunities and challenges within listed buildings and how to overcome them.

He will also be one of the first apprentices to benefit from York Minster’s new £9million  Centre of Excellence for Heritage Skills and Estate Management, which opens this summer.

Here, he will use cutting edge technology and facilities, interacting with heritage professionals from around the world and inspiring young visitors to pursue a career in this field.
Alexander McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct said: “Apprentices are the lifeblood of the Minster’s continuing work and development and we are absolutely delighted to welcome Will as our new Benefact Trust apprentice joiner.

“The Trust’s generous support for heritage skills for Christian buildings enables the training of the next generation of heritage crafts professionals who will work on one of the most iconic buildings in the country.”

“We look forward very much to seeing Will’s experience and skills grow and to working with him on many different joinery projects. We are very grateful to the Trust for their investment in our work and the future of heritage skills”.

Paul Playford, Senior Grants and Operations Officer for Benefact Trust, said: "It is a privilege to support William’s apprenticeship at York Minster. This is not only a fantastic opportunity for him to gain skills and experience in one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world; it is another talented individual securing the future of the cathedral.

“This latest grant is in addition to funding we awarded last year, which is helping to develop York Minster’s Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management. We’re delighted to be able to support this innovative project which is inspiring the next generation of heritage crafters.”
The Benefact Trust derives its funds from its ownership of the Benefact Group - a specialist financial services organisation.
The Christian trust supports the work of churches and Christian charities to help the most vulnerable people in our society; making a positive and transformative difference to lives and communities.