The Building Conservation Directory 2024

154 THE BUILDING CONSERVATION DIRECTORY 2024 CATHEDRAL COMMUNICATIONS APPRENTICESHIPS GRAHAM LEE SKILL SHORTAGES throughout the UK construction industry are well known, and problems are particularly acute for those working in the heritage sector due to the specific skillrequirements. Apprenticeship schemes offer businesses the opportunity to develop and retain the skills required, and much of the training costs are covered by the government or CITB. For a young person at the start of their career, an apprenticeship with a company specialising in conservation provides an opportunity to gain skills in one of the most interesting and rewarding areas of the construction sector. WHAT IS A MODERN APPRENTICE? An apprenticeship comprises a paid, employed job, combining practical training with study. The apprentice works alongside experienced staff, gains specific job skills, is paid and entitled to time for study related to their role (normally one day per week). Minimum hours worked per week is usually 30, including any off-the-job training. Apprenticeship duration can vary depending on subject and level, ranging from one to four years. On successful completion apprentices normally enjoy a significant pay increase. So, rather than running up student loan debt for course fees and living costs at university, apprentices enjoy a combination of academic/college training and practical work experience while being paid. Consequently, it could be argued they join the main workforce much better equipped than those that have followed purely academic training. But now, apprentices can have the best of both worlds as a number of organisations and universities are offering degree apprenticeships. Apprenticeships were traditionally seen as being for ‘blue-collar’ workers who perform manual labour, such as bricklayers, carpenters or plasterers. Today the range and levels of apprenticeships have been vastly expanded to embrace what have previously been seen as ‘white-collar’ roles, that is, those performing typically nonmanual work in an office and/or at a desk, including architects, engineers, planners and surveyors. These distinctions are becoming increasingly blurred. There are six levels of apprenticeship, (numbered 2 to 7) as shown in the table below. Payment is at least the apprentice National Minimum Wage during the first year (see for details), although depending on the employer and apprenticeship it may be more. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR APPRENTICES Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16 living in the UK. The aim is to provide high quality apprenticeships as a simple and practical route into employment. All vacancies are advertised on government websites which clearly state the entry requirements for the role advertised, varying by industry and apprenticeship level. These are: • www.findapprenticeship. (England) • • apprenticeship-search • The training provider (usually a college or other educational establishment) has a key role to play in providing off-the-job training, assessing progress and supporting the apprentice during the process. They will work closely with employers to provide: • an induction programme on starting • a detailed training plan including on-the-job training • regular progress reviews • time at work to put into practice off-the-job training to achieve qualification requirements • mentoring and general support throughout apprenticeship The above five items are all documented in a commitment statement with an individual learning plan as part of the apprenticeship agreement. This is signed by the apprentice, employer and training provider at commencement of the apprenticeship. The list of apprenticeship standards currently available, or in various stages of development, can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships website at www. APPRENTICESHIP LEVEL EQUIVALENT Advanced HIGHER EDUCATION 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree 6 5 Foundation degree and above 4 Advanced 3 2 A levels, Level 3 diploma, or IB Intermediate 2 5 GCSE passes grades A*–C or 9–4 A Skills for the Future training project with Emily Hale in the foreground working on the restoration of a paving scheme at a building designed by Lutyens. (All photos: Graham Lee)