Qualify the Workforce: Mark Priestman says the reasons for visiting the Natural Stone Show in London and training staff are the same

Learners from Stone Edge North Ltd on the SAP

Pictured on the latest SAP are: Programme Leader David Priestman (right) and learners from Stone Edge North Ltd in Nelson, Lancashire, Cameron Darbo, Robert McKeown and Gary Lewis.

It’s the Natural Stone Show, back at ExCeL with Hard Surfaces. And here are five great reasons to make sure these exhibitions are on your calendar:

  • To check out the latest innovations
  • To meet up with trusted suppliers
  • To network with prospective customers
  • To listen to great lectures
  • To inspire fledgling staff

And without me even trying too hard to stretch matters, the truth is those five reasons are also examples of what it means to continuously develop our (and our businesses') professionalism.

How so? An awareness of new techniques and systems can inform our ability to do our job better.

Understanding our suppliers can enhance both the quality and best use of the resources going into our project.

Networking is where our qualifications and skills meet the market.

Learning from experts helps us grow our skills and showcase our major selling points to the market.

And investing in people is key to keeping the workforce qualified!

So make sure you have a plan when attending the Natural Stone Show and Hard Surfaces. Who among your staff are you going to take with you? Who do you want to meet? And what lectures will you schedule in?

A new cohort for the CITB Specialist Applied-Skills Programmes in Facade Preservation & Stone Fixing has started training.

The latest SAPs, as Specialist Applied Skills Programmes are known, kicked-off in April.

Many thanks to Michelle Turner of Stone Restoration Services, based in Ongar, Essex, for hosting the three days. All the trainees enjoyed hands on experience of working with stone.

The next cohort is planned to start in September, so please give me a shout (details below the picture above) if you would like enrolment details. The programme is fee-neutral for CITB registered firms, so long as the person being enrolled is an employee and has access to in-house mentoring on-site.

The programme includes assessment at NVQ level 2 in either stone fixing or facade preservation.

Mark Priestman

Mark Priestman is a Partner at Priestman Associates LLP, a leading façade preservation project consultancy, from stonemasonry and heritage skills through to site supervision and conservation management. The partnership is trusted by the leading brands of the sector as an NVQ provider for experienced, upskiller and apprentice workers. 07876 687212 [email protected]