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Skills : A bumper year for training

16 July 2012

Mark Priestman, a Partner at Priestman Associates LLP, reports a bumper year for training uptake in the natural stone sector.

He says: “Despite the economic climate it seems apparent that employers are conscious of the need to grow their operations by investing in the skills development of their finest asset – their craftspeople, supervisors and managers.”

Priestman Associates work in association with StoneTrain (the training brand of Stone Federation GB) to facilitate the Specialist Apprenticeship Programmes (SAPs) in Heritage Stonemasonry, Stone Fixing and Façade Preservation.

Mark sees enrolment on these SAPs as a no-brainer. “Remarkably, through generous ConstructionSkills grants, the cost of putting a learner on one of these programmes is almost nil!” he says.

Priestman Associates also works with the National Heritage Training Group’s industry training group (see page 35 for more about that) to facilitate a two-day QCF training course.

The aim is to improve understanding of maintenance and repair of pre-1919 buildings. The course is aimed at managers and workers not currently holding the Heritage CSCS card.

Priestman Associates started out with David Priestman pioneering almost single-handedly many of the NVQs the sector now enjoys.

The consultancy pays tribute to the sterling work of the National Specialist Accreditation Centre at ConstructionSkills, headed by Stuart Littlefair, Tim Blackman, Lee Smith and Alan Weymes.

Much of their work goes on behind the scenes but little would be achieved without them and their team of Gerald Kelly (training advisor) and Steve Cocking (quality advisor).

Noteworthy is the highly effective funding they were able to call down from the European Social Fund this year, making the OSAT NVQ a particularly cost effective proposition to specialists in the stone industry.

Contact Mark Priestman on 020 8213 3111 or at [email protected].

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