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From the organisers of

Skills : Setting gold standards in training

16 July 2012
Training is available through the Stone Federation's StoneTrain arm.

The stonemasonry Gold Medal won by Chris Berridge at WorldSkills in London last year should be inspiration for the whole industry to improve its training, says Stone Federation.

Stone Federation GB is committed to maintaining a highly skilled and trained workforce, which is why StoneTrain was formed, writes Nigel Stubbings of Stubbings Business Solutions, who runs StoneTrain for the Federation.

It provides training for the natural stone industry and in particular for Stone Federation members. It is run for the industry, by the industry.

All StoneTrain’s courses are designed to reflect today’s commercial realities, having flexible formats best suited to the needs of employers and employees alike.

Those involved in providing the training are experienced professionals fully aware of the challenges faced by the sector. Regular research underpinned by the work of the Natural Stone Industry Training Group (NSITG) ensures that StoneTrain is aware of new training requirements and is able to provide them as they are needed.

Many courses are eligible for ConstructionSkills grants, reducing the investment needed from registered employers. StoneTrain’s close relationship with ConstructionSkills ensures the earliest awareness of available funding support.

StoneTrain believes that everyone benefits from raised skill levels, whether it’s a new recruit who needs basic training to contribute effectively to the business or an experienced worker who will benefit from a refresher course.

As employees are often a company’s biggest single overhead, it makes sense to invest in this asset. But to get the best value from training it needs to be tailored closely to employees’ needs and the business’s objectives. Training that brings those two requirement together is ideal.

Employees want training that:

  • they can readily put into practice
  • develops them as individuals
  • allows them to learn at their own pace
  • fits in with family and lifestyle commitments
  • is tailored to their learning style.

Employers want training that:

  • is affordable
  • is easy to understand, identify and book
  • doesn't take the employee out of the workplace for too long
  • can be put into practice immediately
  • has measurable results.

The CSCS (ConstructionSkills Certificate Scheme) Card was set up to help the construction industry improve quality and reduce accidents. More than 1.5million people now possess one.

CSCS cards are increasingly demanded as proof of occupational competence by contractors, public and private clients and others.

Possession of a CSCS Card remains the best route to staying employed and working on site. In turn, NVQ enrolment offers the best route to CSCS compliance.

StoneTrain fully supports the CSCS Card Scheme and is in favour of initiatives that ensure the credibility of those working in construction. Accordingly, it offers training solutions to CSCS compliance challenges and offers everyone in the natural stone industry, Federation members or not, routes to NVQ success.

StoneTrain courses at a glance

An Apprenticeship is a commitment by both the employer and the employee. They are the most effective way to achieve qualified operative status in the sector, whether you are 18, 63 or anything in between.

Two year Specialist Apprentice Programmes are available from Stone Train, culminating in a Level 2 NVQ in:

  • Façade Preservation
  • Cleaning and/or Restoration
  • Stone Fixer

These two-year specialist apprenticeship programmes are ideal for both school leavers and career changers. Forty days of training is delivered on site with the employer and there is a requirement for 20 days off-site training with ConstructionSkills accredited trainers and assessors.

There is a further One Year Specialist Apprentice Programme leading to a Level 3 NVQ in Heritage Masonry.

This specialist apprenticeship programme is delivered by StoneTrain’s ConstructionSkills-accredited assessors and in addition offers a unique opportunity to receive training at Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, Yorkshire (a UNESCO World Heritage site) or at Woodchester Mansion, near Stroud, Gloucestershire (a Grade 1 listed 19th century unfinished Gothic masterpiece).

It is delivered in four 5-day modules over the course of a year in parallel with assessments at the place of employment.

Experienced Worker Qualifications or On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT)

Many people in the stone industry have no formal qualifications but do have considerable skill and experience obtained over many years in the industry.

StoneTrain’s experienced worker qualifications are designed to assess these employees in order to give them qualifications and, most importantly, get them CSCS compliant.

Typically, these qualifications take from six to 12 months to complete, depending on the amount of time candidates can dedicate to them. Some might even be able to complete them in less time.

Again, in many cases ConstructionsSkills grants are available to companies.

There is an OSAT Experienced Worker Stone Sector NVQ Level 2 available in:

  • Façade Preservation (Cleaning and/or Restoration)
  • Banker Mason
  • Stone Fixer
  • Stone Floor Fixer

NVQs are available to those people who have completed at least three years experience in one of the stone sector disciplines listed above. It usually takes between nine and 12 months to obtain the NVQ but some candidates have achieved it in less than three months.

OSAT Skilled Worker Stone Sector NVQ Level 3 is available in:

  • Heritage Mason
  • Stone Fixer
  • Banker Mason

These NVQs are available to people who have completed the relevant qualification or experience equivalent to Level 2. Obtaining a qualification at this level demonstrates the candidate’s expertise in their discipline.

OSAT Skilled Worker Stone Sector NVQ Level 3 is also available in Occupational Work Supervision: Construction.

This is for those who are a foreman, supervisor, manager or director and is increasingly expected of anyone acting in any type of supervisory role on site.

OSAT Management Level Stone Sector NVQ Level 6 is available in Construction Site Management: Conservation.

This is an impressive attainment for contract directors and project managers. It highlights the holder’s capabilities in the conservation arena.

Both of these NVQs are delivered through two all-day classroom courses and on-site assessments conducted by StoneTrain’s ConstructionSkills accredited trainers and assessors.

The following StoneTrain Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Courses are available to keep up-to-date with latest developments:

  • Two Day: Conservation Project Management
  • Two Day: Occupational Works Supervision
  • One Day: Health & Safety On-Site for Managers
  • One Day: Health & Safety On-Site for Trainees

Each of these is designed to complement progression through an NVQ award.

Management and Supervisory Development

Programme Courses

ConstructionSkills M&SDP has provided financial support for Stone Federation members pursuing the development of management skills. StoneTrain has developed full- and half-day courses to raise skill levels in management and supervisory roles.

The courses can be combined in any way to make a full day’s training. Courses for six people or more from a single employer will be delivered at the employer’s premises to minimise disruption to the normal working day.

  • One Day: Presentation Skills
  • Half Day: Leadership Skills
  • Half Day: Communication Skills
  • Half Day: Motivation
  • Two Day: Lean Management Tools and Techniques

More information is available on the StoneTrain website ( or contact StoneTrain by email at [email protected]. To discuss the training needs of your firm and the services available from StoneTrain call the Stone Federation on 01303 856103.


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