StoneTrain, the training division of Stone Federation GB, has a new partnership with Building Crafts College, Stratford, London, for the College to deliver the Specialist Apprentice Programme (SAP) Heritage Skills Level 3 Stonemasonry.
The SAP involves 20 days off-site training delivered on a day release basis. For CITB-registered companies the programme is fully grant funded – and companies do not have to be Levy payers to qualify for funding. The L3 NVQ qualifies people to apply for a CSCS Advanced Craft Gold Card.
For anyone to succeed in building conservation, repair and restoration, a comprehensive understanding of the subject is essential. The Heritage Skills qualification in Stonemasonry is designed to provide all the necessary fundamental, historical, theoretical, technological knowledge and practical skills to be proficient in working on the conservation, repair and restoration of traditionally built stone buildings.
The training embraces a wide range of subjects including the historical backgrounds to the materials, tools, equipment and techniques used on stone buildings dating from Roman times through to the present day. Subjects covered include causes of decay of stone, mortars and the appropriate methods of undertaking sympathetic repairs.
There is a shortage of formally qualified people of the right calibre in the heritage sector and due to the past lack of training opportunities, existing qualification holders tend to be experienced workers assessed by the onsite assessment and training route (OSAT).
To date, the training available has, for the most part, been through the employer providing on-the-job experience to suit only their specific demands supported by limited attendance on specialist courses.
Now, through Building Crafts College, specific, tailored training and assessment is open to all, and through the prescribed off-the-job training sessions combined with employer-led, supervised on-the-job practical application of the knowledge gained, candidates will gain a comprehensive understanding of building conservation, repair and restoration. The training modules will be flexible to facilitate the on-the-job demands of the employer’s core work.
In addition to the 20-day SAP, Building Crafts College is also offering two Specialist Upskilling Programmes (SUPs), one of five days and a second of ten days.
Both SUPs deliver the same Heritage Level 3 NVQ but recognise that more experienced candidates require fewer off-the-job training days. An on-line questionnaire and a telephone interview will be used to ensure that all candidates for the SAP or the SUPs are placed on the programme that best suits their needs.
The cost of the 20 Day SAP at Building Crafts College is £3,000 and the minimum CITB Grant available for tegistered companies is presently £4,125, although for Levy paying companies fulfilling certain terms and conditions, £5,033 may be available.
The ten-day SUP costs £1,900 with a minimum grant of £2,225 available. The five-day SUP costs £1,400 with a minimum grant of £2,125.
For more information about the programmes contact either Ian Major of StoneTrain on 07851 063938 / [email protected] or Nigel Gilkison at Buildings Crafts College on 020 8552 1705 / [email protected].
Len Conway, Principal of the Building Crafts College, says of the new agreement with StoneTrain: “The Building Crafts College has a longstanding commitment to increase and develop our training in building conservation and heritage. Alongside our Degree in Historic Building Conservation the range of heritage-based craft courses has also developed.
"Despite the importance of the skills necessary to maintain older buildings, it has not always been easy to develop new provision so we very much appreciate the opportunity that these SAP and SUP programmes, developed by Stone Federation GB in partnership with CITB, will give the College in extending the range of heritage craft training available to us.”
Jane Buxey, CEO of Stone Federation, commented: “Stone Federation GB has an unwavering commitment to ensuring the built heritage of the UK is protected for the appreciation and enjoyment of generations to come, not only for those living in the UK but for the millions of overseas visitors each year who come to our shores.
"StoneTrain’s Specialist Apprentice and Upskilling Programmes in Heritage Skills Stonemasonry will deliver qualified and skilled people who understand fully all the techniques required to conserve, restore and repair our iconic buildings. We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Building Crafts College – experts in this field – to extend our delivery capability.”