A Qualified Workforce: by Mark Priestman

Mark Priestman is a Partner at Priestman Associates LLP, a leading fa√Åade 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].

Mark Priestman plays an active role in the development and delivery of training in the stone sector. Along with his father, David Priestman, he runs a training consultancy whose mantra is: Qualify the Workforce!

CSCS – Virtually the same!

How is your virtual life? Whatsapp, Instagram, Zoom, Meet, Teams… What a difference a year makes.

Some of the changes could be notched up as benefits. Less travelling is both a plus for the environment and means that before you start a meeting and immediately after you finish one you can be engaged in other work-related tasks instead of being sat on a motorway.

CSCS has seen the need to take its cards virtual, too, with a dedicated app that can be shown instead of the physical card. The app includes the holder’s training achievements, verifying their ability to carry out tasks in hand. A physical card is still being posted – for now, at least – but the app is instant.

The app is free from Google Play and Apple AppStore. It can show progress information, entered by the holder on their applications sent to CSCS. It can manage personal contact information and provides access to customer care.

It never goes to sleep and is accessible outside CSCS’s normal operational hours.

Retaining skills

If you have been made redundant or are facing redundancy it is well worth signing up for the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme at bit.ly/CLCwork. It’s free and connects construction businesses with those looking for work. There is a stone-specific version from Stone Federation at bit.ly/SFTalentConnection.

Fee-neutral training and L2 qualification in façade preservation and stone fixing

We have some limited spaces for the above CITB Specialist Applied-Skills Programme, which is heavily grant supported if your firm is CITB registered. Please let me know if you would like to hear more (my contact details are on the right). Covid-related social distancing measures are factored into these programmes.

Maximise the benefits of remote working

The Construction Industry Council has launched an e-learning course called ‘Smarter not Harder’. The programme aims to help you maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of people working remotely. Tools and procedures for managing remote teams are discussed. You can find out more and register at: https://mailchi.mp/accredex/cic_smarternotharder.

Furloughed – Can’t train?

According to BuildUK ‘furloughed employees are able to engage in training as long as doing so does not provide services to, or generate revenue for or on behalf of their company or a linked or associated company’.

Where training is undertaken at the request of an employer, furloughed employees are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage. In most cases, the furlough payment will cover these training hours. However, if the time spent training exceeds the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages.

If you are enrolled on an NVQ assessment and furloughed, use the time to get ahead with your portfolio building. You will thank yourself when furlough ends and you return to work.