2013 Yearbook

24 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 3 BUILDING TRADITIONAL SKILLS The Building Traditional Skills project is funded under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme and is being delivered through the NHTG. It aims to provide a total of 60 work-based bursary-funded placements across the country with specialist heritage contractors. In this role, I seek training placements (12 in total for the two regions) through negotiation with specialist contractors in London and the South East, assessing their suitability and ensuring they can offer trainees relevant experience to achieve heritage crafts and management skills qualifications working with a suitably experienced heritage expert. Fully funded bursary placements of three, six or 12 months follow, once an agreement between NHTG and the placement provider has been signed. Placement and person specifications are drawn up for these opportunities, which are advertised widely in the region. Applicants are normally expected to have a minimum Level 2 NVQ in their trade. The most suitable are short- listed and recommended to placement providers. Interviews are carried out in conjunction with the host, sometimes incorporating a practical skills test. An alternative application process is available by self-referral for those who have themselves secured a suitable placement. With the host supervisor I carry out a joint induction of the bursary holder using checklists covering matters such as a project overview, health and safety procedures, and trainee conduct requirements. Rigorous systems and records are in place to satisfy HLF and NHTG requirements. A detailed individual training plan is also drafted for the trainee including skills they wish to cover and the qualification they want to achieve. Placements are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are progressing satisfactorily for both parties. I also arrange enrolment with a suitable assessment centre for the chosen qualification and monitor the trainee’s progress with the assessor. I also organise two-day courses on the repair and maintenance of pre-1919 buildings, which all bursary holders are expected to attend (they are also available to the public). The London course took place at the Greenwich World Heritage Site (illustrated on pages 16 and 22) in December 2012. At the end of the placement I conduct an exit interview with the host and bursary holder to obtain feedback on the bursary holder’s progress. I also assist with the trainee’s career development. The scheme is an excellent way to increase the number of heritage skills qualified craftspeople and managers. The NHTG’s Traditional Building Craft Skills report (2005, updated 2008) found that only around one third of the 109,000 craftspeople employed on pre-1919 buildings in England had the relevant skills. So while the courses and bursary placements discussed above are making useful progress, much remains to be done to increase the pool of qualified workers. Further Information • The Building Crafts College www.thebcc.ac.uk • Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation www.cotac.org.uk • Kingston University, London www.kingston.ac.uk • National Heritage Training Group www.nhtgskills.org For more information on IHBC- recognised courses please see page 81 Trainee Amy Ward on a Building Traditional Skills stonemasonry placement with York Minster which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (Photo: NHTG)