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 is a Director of a training consultancy whose mantra is: Qualify the Workforce!

The chancellor had some promising news regarding training in his Budget this year. While some details are still to be firmed-up, here is what’s  promised:

  • From this month (April) the bonus scheme for recruiting apprentices aged 25 and over will double to £3,000 (and the scheme is extended from March to September 2021)
  • This is in addition to the £1,000 payment provided for apprentices under 25
  • Arrangements are afoot for a new ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeship allowing workers to be shared among multiple like-disciplined employers. Apprentices will be linked to an agency instead of one employer. From January 2022, a fund pot of £7million will be available for this
  • Also… an ‘extra’ £126million for traineeships, intended to increase uptake by around 40,000 this year.

Naturally, I’ll try to keep you posted as details emerge and when I can signpost you to points of contact. In the meantime, it might be worth you addressing these points with your business associations, trade federations, professional bodies and CITB company representative, as they are likely to get first dibs on information.


We are currently recruiting for the CITB’s Specialist Applied-Skills Programmes (SAP) in Façade Preservation OR Stone Fixing. The programme is for employees, sponsored by a business in-scope with the CITB. Minimal disruption to workers’ site activity is caused by the programmes and level 2 NVQ is included in the programme, which, once achieved, enables the worker to apply for a blue ‘skilled worker’ card.


Somebody has switched-on the NVQ enrolment button!

Since January it appears the sector has decided that regardless of where we’re at with the virus (while maintaining safe working practices) we need to press on with qualifying the workforce. 

We remain able to assist with skilled worker card NVQ entry requirements. We can help those wanting recognition for:

  • Skilled worker status in Façade Cleaning, Façade Restoring, Façade Preservation, Modular Paving Installation, Banker Mason, External Fixer Mason, Internal Fixer Mason, Cladder Mason, Cutter Mason, Water Jetter
  • Heritage worker status in Heritage Masonry and Heritage Façade Preservation
  • Advanced worker status in Fixer Masonry or Banker Masonry
  • Supervisory worker status in Occupational Work Supervision or Construction Contracting Operations
  • Construction site management status in either Building and Civil Engineering, or Conservation; or contracts management skills.

I am looking forward to seeing more of the workforce qualified. But, while restrictions are lifting, vigilance and care regarding Covid is still important! Please keep safe and well.