A Qualified Workforce : Mark Priestman

Mark Priestman discusses developments in training in the stone industry.

Mark Priestman has more than 20 years’ experience in the natural stone sector. He plays an active role in the development and delivery of training in this specialist environment. Along with his father, David Priestman, he runs a training consultancy whose mantra is: Qualify the Workforce!

“Everyone needs to know about this!”– Michelle Turner, Chair of the Natural Stone Industry Training Group.

Michelle is not wrong. So what is she talking about? Grandfathers actually. That’s right. More precisely: Grandfather’s Rights under the CSCS Card scheme.

For many years those who were deemed skilled workers and who pre-dated vocational qualifications have been able to achieve a CSCS Card via grandfather’s rights. Or, the more accurate term, Industry Accreditation.

But this is about to change.

The withdrawal of Industry Accreditation by CSCS will complete the Construction Leadership Council’s 2020 vision of making sure vocational qualification achievement is a requirement of holding a skills card showing the CSCS logo.

More than 60,000 card holders will no longer be able to renew their Industry Accreditation (or Grandfather’s Rights) skills card when they need renewing.

CSCS states that from 1 January next year all cards under Industry Accreditation will expire on 31 December 2024 and CSCS will stop issuing the cards from 30 June 2024.

This measure mimics recent changes in requiring labourers to achieve a level one qualification and the phasing out of the Construction Related Occupation Card.

Granted a fair proportion of Industry Accreditation card holders might be happily retired by the time this arrangement ceases, but for those who are still working CSCS promises a smooth transition.

Many, no doubt, will want to use the remaining time to achieve the relevant NVQ ahead of the curve and to furnish themselves with a skilled worker card when their current card expires.

A Big Thank you to CITB’s Alan Wemyss 

Behind the scenes our sector has benefitted greatly from the expertise of CITB Specialist Training Services Manager Alan Wemyss. Alan retires this year and will be missed by all at Priestman Associates, not to mention all those he has built relationships with, managed and enhanced at the CITB and in the specialist trades associated with the National Specialists Accredited Centre. 

Alan has been integral in managing the funding, recruitment and delivery standards of Specialist Apprenticeship Programmes (now called Specialist Applied-Skills Programmes) in a considerable range of trades, resulting in more than 1,600 learners becoming qualified. 

Priestman Associates has worked with Alan in the development and delivery of two Specialist Applied Skills Programmes; one in Stone Fixing (for architectural stone fixing and for internal stone installations) and another in Façade Preservation (for masonry cleaning and repair). 

We wish Alan all the best for a happy, healthy and long retirement.

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]