IHBC Yearbook 2011

r e v i e w 25 Training Requirements for Conservation Architects The employer’s perspective Jonathan Gotelee Training implies improvement, which can be understood as a three-stage process involving: • the desire to improve • forming a philosophy for improvement • gathering practical experience. Training should be applied at every level of an organisation: from its main aims, through its areas of expertise to its individual members. A successful practice will recognise the central importance of staff training for developing both the practice and the varied and differently skilled individuals whose professional home it is. 1. The desire to improve Improvement requires passion, the desire to do better, to understand more deeply or to create new methods of working. Gaining useful experience in the building industry takes years, not months. It needs planning, the commitment of resources and a long-term outlook. At Purcell Miller Tritton our training system aims to provide these. We try to identify engaged, committed and inspired people at an early stage. In job applications we check whether: • the application shows why the person wants to work for the practice, whether they have found a named member of staff to contact, that their CV includes images of their work, what research they have done into the practice, and why they like our work • the candidate has conservation accreditation, a postgraduate conservation qualification or other specialism and whether they have been a SPAB Scholar • the applicant is a member of any professional bodies relevant to our work, eg SPAB, the IHBC, the 20th Century Society or the Project Management Institute, and what efforts they have made to increase their knowledge through CPD or other forms of professional training. We encourage employees to take their own interests further to achieve specialism in particular areas, but guide them towards achievable goals which build on their experience. Initiative and flexibility are encouraged; if possible we will give someone work on a project in another office, including temporary relocation, to provide them with the necessary experience. This prepares them for taking a lead role on similar projects with lessexperienced team members in the home office; it also builds relationships between offices within the practice. A great deal of the inspiration to improve comes from within. Senior architects lead both by example and by passing on their experience. By holding highly skilled posts and working on some of the UK’s most wonderful places they provide an example of commitment and enjoyment of the role to which others can aspire. By delegating the work, they also ensure that those less experienced will also be given opportunities to gain knowledge, grow, mature and enjoy similar work. 2. Forming a philosophy for improvement Unless there is a strongly defined core philosophy there is no foundation from which to spring. We have, for instance, formally set out our conservation principles as part of a thorough analysis of what we do, how we do it and who we need to do it. These principles already formed the basis of our conservation approach, putting them in writing just makes sure that all members of staff can easily refer to them. We also have internal groups whose