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A qualified workforce : This year's graduates

15 October 2013
Mark Priestman is planning to re-charge.

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!

This year we’ll have no right to complain about the shocking summer. It’s been pretty good, with sporting success, royal happiness and not even a hosepipe ban to spoil it.

I do sometimes wonder, however, if the normal laws of physics are suspended in the run up to a period of annual leave.

It seems to me that the month before a vacation provides a person with just enough heightened stress to add to the necessity of the vacation. It reminds me of the way an athlete steps up a gear when they are within sight of the finish line – then collapses in a heap the other side of the line.

Work provides its own eleventh hour anxieties pre-vacation: project deadlines, handover meetings, setting up activity for return.

Then there is home life: packing, finding a house sitter… and (lest we forget) there is the travel itself – unearthly arrival time at the airport to negotiate security, unearthly flight time, delays, arrival, the bus journey round the airport, then to the hotel.

This month in preparation for my family vacation I have fallen ill and been in A&E with blood poisoning (don’t try this at home kids!) followed by a nasty cold likely brought on by three courses of antibiotics and the resulting non-existent immune system. Am I the only person drinking Lemsip this August?

So, my plan is that with a cunning formula of active bio yoghurts, compulsory poolside rest, oily salads and the Greek sunshine, I will return from vacation energised and rearing to go!

I just wonder how many of you are in a similar situation. If you are, I wish you googols of medicinal summertime re-charging.

This issue I am suspending my series on essential training needs for the sector’s site operatives in favour of highlighting some seasonal news.

The Graduates

I am delighted to announce that the following Stonetrain CITB Specialist Apprenticeship Programme learners have graduated this summer:

1 Chris Blackman (Stonewest)

2 David Dobbs (Triton)

3 Nick Hutton (Stone Restoration Services)

4 Darren Povey (Stone Restoration Services)

5 Darrien Spence (Stone Restoration Services)

6 Alex Still (Triton)

7 Grant Williams (Stonewest)

All of them have undergone specialist classroom training,

on-site mentoring and have completed the level 2 NVQ Certificate in Façade Preservation.

Their employers also deserve commendation for recognising that training plays an essential part in keeping businesses afloat – even in the current economy.

No doubt many of you are feeling the pinch, so how about this…

Free NVQ training

Free training toward an NVQ is very much on the cards but the window of opportunity is short.

If you are a CITB registered firm and have learners with no NVQ who would like to embark on a specialist apprenticeship programme over two years (which includes 20 days off-site training) in either Façade Preservation or Stone Fixing, then the current grant is much higher than the fee you’d be charged by Stone Federation’s Stonetrain (in fact, it’s between £3,000 and £5,000 more!).

If you fit this criterion, email me your details and I can send you over a full information pack (in between cocktails from my poolside recliner).

Next month we’ll take a look at essential training in the form of S/NVQ and CSCS card compliance.

Until then, please keep happy and healthy!

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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