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From the organisers of

A qualified workforce

17 September 2012
Mark Priestman keeps you up-to-date with training.

Mark Priestman has more than 20 years’ experience in the natural stone sector. He plays an active role in the development and delivery of training in this specialist environment. Along with his father, David Priestman, he runs a training consultancy whose mantra is: Qualify the Workforce!

Recently I was a speaker at the National Heritage Training Group’s Industry Training Group briefing seminar with allied trade associations (Phew! What a mouthful). I am the forum’s Deputy Chairman.

The attendance and participation at the seminar was encouraging and I think in the weeks and months ahead areas of collaboration among the heritage allied trades will be evident. I will keep you posted.

It was an objective of the forum to get a sense of what everyone around the table considered heritage to be all about.

For me, Alan Creasey of the Institute of Carpenters summed it up best: “Our Future!”

Yes, heritage is all about the past. But if we don’t look after the heritage built environment today, we will be the last generation to enjoy it.

It’s not just about days out at Norman castles, either. We can learn much from our forerunners’ building design, fabric choices and technical know-how.

At the forum we learnt that efforts are being made to empower the Memorandum of Understanding that insists Heritage CSCS card holders only are used on heritage projects and all work on pre-1919 buildings.

The heritage band wagon is one that specialist contractors need to jump on if they want to stay in the heritage marketplace. Don’t say I didn’t alert you.

You might also now want to get your pen and paper out and jot down Karen Houghton’s contact details.

Karen is the Manager of the National heritage Training Group’s Skills for the Future project.

She is currently accepting applications for grant support of work-related training placements, Level 3 Heritage NVQs, Heritage Specialist Apprenticeship Programme placements, Senior craft NVQs, Level 2 Heritage Construction awards and Foundation Degree enrolments. You can email Karen at [email protected]. Please send her my regards!

More big news has come in the form of a CITB-ConstructionSkills grant uplift.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Mark Farrar, the CEO, that CITB-ConstructionSkills has been working closely with industry to make the grants as responsive as possible to needs.

And he seems to have got a lot of it right so far.

From 1 August both the grants for the two-year Specialist Apprenticeship Programme (such as Level 2 courses in Façade Preservation, Stone Fixing and Stone Paving) and the one-year Specialist Apprenticeship Programme (at Level 3, such as the one in Heritage Masonry) have risen significantly.

In fact, they have risen so much it is likely they will more than cover the charge from your training facilitator – even more reason to get involved in training.

There used to be a lump sum of £275 per NVQ achiever, but this has now increased to £400.

Most training providers are also on the lookout for additional funding from the autumn, so that the delivery of the OSAT experienced worker NVQs is likewise funded in the bulk.

I would love to hear from you if you are considering enrolment on the Specialist Apprenticeship Programmes or Experienced Worker NVQs. My email address is under my picture on the left of this column.

What’s my call to action then?

a) If you are an in-scope contractor, join an industry training forum – it is one way to have your voice heard

b) assess your firm’s training needs and go grab some of Karen’s money.

Mark Priestman is a Partner at Priestman Associates LLP, a leading façade preservation project consultancy. From stonemasonry and heritage skills through to Site Supervision and Conservation Management, the partnership is trusted by the leading brands of the sector as an NVQ provider for experienced, upskiller and apprentice workers.

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