A Qualified Workforce

SAPs for Stone Fixing and Facade Preservation. 

You’ll be aware, I think, that the stone sector operates three CITB Specialist Applied Skills Programmes (SAPs). One of them is run by John Munro on-site in Herefordshire. More to follow on that in a future column. My company, Priestman Associates, offers the other two programmes, which are set at Level 2. Once completed, they enable successful candidates to apply for the CSCS blue Skilled Worker card.

While they are enrolled and registered on the programme they can apply to CSCS for a red Trainee Card to allow them continued access to site and to mentoring.

So that these programmes do not impact too greatly on work operations, much of the course involves mentoring by your own experienced staff. This is then complemented by 19 days

off-site industry prescribed training.

This part of the programme spans one year.

After one year, candidates are assessed for their NVQ while working on projects.

There are two programmes I work closely with:

  • Stone Fixing – which suits both architectural (external) fixers of stone and caters for the increasing need from the sector for installing stone internally, such as flooring, walling, wet rooms and worktops.
  • Façade Preservation – which suits both masonry cleaners and masonry restorers.

The fee would normally be £4,900 per person. But CITB registered firms gain a huge advantage as £3,900 per person is discounted and paid directly from CITB to the training provider, leaving a short fall of just £1,000 per person to be paid by the employer. This is spread over two instalments.

Even this £1,000 is more than covered by available grants from the CITB.

As one of our colleagues who has sent learners on the programme for many years puts it: “Its a no-brainer”.

That’s especially true when you factor in that off-site assessment of an NVQ at Level 2 is already approx £1,250 per person.

For you to claim the CITB grants your learner has to be an employee of your business (not self employed) and must be over 16 years old.

And they must attend the off-site training, which is based in Borehamwood (north-west of London) and Ongar (Essex).

We’ve had learners attend from all of the country, including Lancashire, Cornwall and Wales.

If that is too far to travel, we can bring these programmes to your premises if you can supply a minimum of six learners, perhaps all from your own company or perhaps including those from other companies in your region.

If you are interested, give me a shout so as not to miss out on the start of the next programmes in both façade preservation and stone fixing.


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].