IHBC Yearbook 2011

r e v i e w 35 Heritage Skills Craft Training An update Paul Simons Research carried out by English Heritage at the start of the 21st century highlighted a fact that many had suspected since the scrapping of traditional apprenticeships in the 1980s; not only was there a serious lack of formal training in the heritage sector of the construction industry but this would be made far worse by the imminent retirement of a whole generation of traditionally trained craftspeople. This realisation brought about the creation of the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) through a Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) between English Heritage and ConstructionSkills. Subsequently, similar SSAs have been made in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The NHTG is an independent specialist sector skills development group with a UK-wide remit to provide assistance with all aspects of recruiting, training, and qualifying the built heritage sector workforce. This is achieved by working in partnership with heritage bodies, contractors, trade federations, trades unions, further education and private training providers and clients to develop flexible training and skills development and ensure there are sufficient numbers of appropriately skilled craftspeople to work on the UK’s historic building stock. The NHTG produced the seminal ‘Traditional Building Craft Skills: Skills Needs Analysis’ reports (England 2005 and 2008, Scotland and Wales 2007, Ireland 2009 and UK-wide for built heritage sector professionals in 2008), which for the Leadworkers at an advanced course at the Lead Sheet Association’s National Training Centre in Kent (Photo: Lead Sheet Association) Ten Guiding Principles of the National Heritage Training Group From the NHTG Memorandum of Understanding 1. to foster an awareness of local culture and connect this with economic regeneration and development to meet and maintain social and physical needs 2. to promote improved understanding between owners, planners and property managers for the sustainable use of traditional building materials and appropriate repair and maintenance techniques 3. to promote the highest possible standards of design, management, supervision and workmanship in all built heritage conservation, repair and maintenance contracts 4. to promote the need to appoint knowledgeable, qualified and experienced sector professionals and contractors/ craftspeople for all aspects of pre-1919 building projects 5. to devise and maintain best practice models for this sector from design, specification and procurement to on-site project delivery and aftercare, and using a sustainable approach throughout that protects against or mitigates the effects of climate change 6. to work towards a CSCS carded workforce, including the appropriate heritage endorsed cards and Professional Qualified Persons cards for those working on all built heritage projects and sites, to demonstrate competency and health and safety awareness 7. to encourage all heritage funding agencies from 2010 to use appropriately carded contractors and craftspeople to carry out all work on grant-aided heritage projects 8. to promote awareness of the need to identify, safeguard and enable access to sources of traditional building materials on a sustainable basis, at regional and local level 9. to promote and maintain a balanced approach between natural and built heritage legislation and its implementation 10. to support the development of integrated education and training programmes and CPD to share knowledge and understanding between contractors, craftspeople and sector professionals.