Bakers of Danbury offers unique heritage building training programme

Bakers of Danbury offers training in churches

Bakers of Danbury, already well known in the heritage sector for the carving and stone cleaning skills of its stonemasons, as well as its wider conservation work, has created a new 18-month, externally accredited site-based Heritage Building Crafts training programme – a one of a kind.

Established more than 140 years ago, Bakers of Danbury is well established for conservation and repairs to period properties, churches and ancient monuments, including landmarks such as Westminster Abbey and St Pauls Cathedral in Lon-don.

Bakers’ has always prided itself on the training it offers, with one person who joined the company as an apprentice 35 years ago still working for the company. Many of the company’s directly employed tradespeople have been with the company for more than 20 years.

With the construction industry in general facing skills shortages, it is as important as ever that companies like Bakers, with highly skilled, directly employed staff, should pass on the knowledge of traditional construction methods to future generations, just as it has since it was founded in 1878.

Traditional methods and skills are normally conveyed through mentorship and apprenticeships within the company. With this in mind, Bakers has teamed up with the training provider Priestman Associates LLP (one of whose Directors, Mark Priestman, writes the Training column in this magazine) to develop a bespoke Heritage Building training programme – which is unique to Bakers of Danbury.

The Heritage Building Training programme will include an NVQ Level 2 in stone-masonry preservation skills, with learning and assessment based on site. There is a programme of accredited heritage building modules covering lime plastering, carpentry repairs and other skills necessary to carry out conservation and repair works to churches and ancient monuments.

On successful completion of the accredited training programme, the trainees will become qualified Heritage Building Craftsmen, with a stonemasonry NVQ Level 2 qualification and externally accredited Heritage Building Crafts training.

Trainees will benefit from a varied and valuable skill set and will continue to work on many interesting church projects, with the opportunity for subsequent training and internal promotion with Bakers of Danbury Ltd.

Peter Smyth, Managing Director of Bakers, says: “We’re proud to be actively help-ing to reduce the skills shortage within the construction industry, in particular the heritage sector, by creating two new places for Trainee Heritage Building Craftsmen, within our Church Works department.

“As there isn’t an NVQ 2 available in building heritage or conservation, our unique training programme will offer new entrants into the industry the opportunity to learn skills and benefit from training they are unlike to gain anywhere else.”

Having recently recruited one Trainee for the programme, Bakers is currently looking to fill its second vacancy. If you would like to register your interest, email