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Partnership launched to support traditional skills in construction industry

24 November 2008

Construction work

A collaboration between Historic Scotland, Constructionskills Scotland, and Scottish Qualifications Authority has been launched in a bid to tackle the skills gaps in the traditional building sector in the construction industry.

The three organisations have come together, for the first time, to establish a strategic partnership which will be in force for the next four years.

Nearly 50% of Scotland’s construction activity relates to repair and maintenance, but gaps remain in the availability of a broad range of traditional building skills.

The first task for the partnership will be to identify the skills and knowledge gaps in traditional building skills in the construction sector.

It will then ensure the correct qualifications and professional development are in place, within the education framework, to improve the conservation, maintenance and repair of traditionally constructed buildings in Scotland.

David Mitchell, director of Technical Conservation Group at Historic Scotland, said: “This is a significant step by all three parties to assist in identifying gaps in training and knowledge in the traditional skills sector, and to work with industry, training providers and other partners to raise the standards of work being undertaken on traditional buildings across Scotland.

“It’s also an opportunity for us, as a working group, to help the wider construction industry during a difficult period.”

SQA chief executive Janet Brown said: “Much of Scotland’s rich historical heritage is portrayed in stone, bricks and mortar. Often, the skills required to maintain and repair some of those marvellous old buildings – without which Scotland would be a poorer place – are no longer available.

“For that reason, it is essential that we work together to ensure that the store of knowledge from years gone by is passed on to the current and future generations of craftspeople. Our strategic partnership represents a significant step along the path of ensuring that the appropriate skills and knowledge essential to effectively caring for our architectural heritage is not only maintained but is enhanced and developed for the future.”

Graeme Ogilvy, Scotland director for ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council said: “It’s crucial that we take the correct steps to bridging the skills gap in this industry by educating those working in the sector about the importance of properly  preserving the country’s heritage buildings.

“ConstructionSkills is committed to ensuring that those working in the professional sector have the correct knowledge and skills needed to specify the right traditional building materials and oversee the work on our heritage buildings.

“We look forward to working closely with Historic Scotland and the SQA to address this issue and to develop appropriate training and heritage qualifications for the professional sector.”   

Historic Scotland and Constructionskills will carry out a qualifications audit looking at the provision and delivery of vocational training relating to traditional building skills in Scotland. The audit, due to be completed by summer 2009, will be placed against a framework of traditional skills required to effectively care for Scotland’s built environment.

The results will form a strategy for the development of qualifications, educational resources and training to meet demands and the industry’s main priorities. The partnership will approach colleges across Scotland and encourage them to introduce the strategy to either existing courses or establish new courses within the current Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Staff will be trained at delivery centres, assist with educational resources, and support SQA Quality Assurance in suggesting appropriately experienced External Verifiers, and assist with development.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament

  • The Scottish Qualifications’ Authority (SQA) is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Scottish Government Schools’ Directorate.  It is the national body in Scotland responsible for the development, accreditation, assessment and certification of qualifications other than degrees. The overall aim of the SQA is to manage the qualifications system below degree level to allow students to fulfill their potential to participate in the economy, society and communities of Scotland.

  • Constructionskills Scotland, an industry training board and sector skills council for the construction industry

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations

Contact details:

Derek Douglas (SQA Media Relations)
0131 339 6093 or 07808 76 44 26

For more information on ConstructionSkills please contact Lisa McGhee or Nicola Yates at Trimedia on 0141 331 6620

For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438