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English Heritage and CITB- Construction Skills Sign one of the first Sector Skills Council

The future of Englands historic buildings was made a possibility, with the signing of one of the first Sector Skills Agreements between CITB-ConstructionSkills and English Heritage.

Fewer than 80,000 tradespeople in the UK are skilled in traditional building crafts. This represents around 4% of all the people working in UK construction, yet 30% of the countrys housing stock pre-dates 1919; there are some 1,500 Grade I and Grade II listed buildings on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register and the value of the repair and maintenance of the nations building stock (including historic buildings) is estimated to be at least 50% of all construction-related activity each year.

The agreement aims to build on the achievements of the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG) and the existing Memorandum of Agreement between CITB-ConstructionSkills and English Heritage, which aims to address labour and skills shortages in trades vital to preserving these buildings, such as stone slate roofing, and specialist painting and decorating techniques such as graining and marbling.

The Sector Skills Agreement commits CITB-ConstructionSkills and English Heritage to a number of strategic and deliverable objectives including:

> assembling a tailored strategic national and regional strategy to support training, knowledge and skills provision

> quantifying and validating the scope and size of the specialist labour and skills needs for the next three to five years

> co-ordinating the provision of specialist conservation training, including optional NVQ 3 conservation units in construction apprenticeships; lobbying for the establishment of targeted national specialist Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs); and Adult Apprenticeship funding to attract career changers into the sector

> establishing pre-tender training and qualification requirements for grant-aided work, including a 100% CSCS-carded workforce

> developing and delivering recruitment campaigns for targeted crafts

Peter Lobban, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills said of the announcement:”We are delighted to be signing this SSA with English Heritage. It builds on the achievements of the National Heritage Training Group to establish sustainable strategies for training and skills development within the historic built environment. We see this as an important part of tackling future and existing skills gaps whilst continuing in our aim of a fully-qualified construction workforce by 2010.”

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage said: “This agreement increases the momentum of an important task English Heritage and CITB-ConstructionSkills have set themselves to do together – to find long-term solutions to the shortage of traditional building crafts and skills, vital to the conservation of our historic environment for future generations.”

For further information on the National Heritage Training Group and sustaining traditional skills, visit www.nhtg.org.uk.

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