A national trade body has launched an apprenticeship programme to train and develop a new generation of professionals with the skills necessary to preserve and protect properties across the UK.
The Property Care Association (PCA) has welcomed its first cohort of trainees to its new Apprenticeship Programme for the Preservation Industry, which has been introduced with support and funding from CITB.
Ten apprentices from companies based across the UK are taking part in the scheme.
They are undertaking a comprehensive programme which will give them an insight into subjects including wet and dry rot, wood boring insects, rising damp and timber treatments.
The Specialist Apprenticeship Programme is not only available to PCA members but also to the wider specialist construction industry.
Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the PCA, said: “The Apprenticeship has been launched to encourage young people into the preservation industry.
“This is mainly due to the increase in those retiring and to help with succession.
“It’s an exciting prospect which will provide the necessary skills to support the preservation and protection of properties across the country.”
Gerald Kelly, CITB Federation Support, said “The development of this apprenticeship is a fantastic achievement by the PCA.
“This apprenticeship supports new operatives, young and career changers, into a property care sector which can offer a lifetime of learning and a varied, interesting and rewarding career.
“The property care sector and construction in general have skills shortages, so it is vital that young people and career changers are attracted to the industry and this apprenticeship will greatly assist with that endeavour.”
Training and development is a central pillar of the PCA’s work and it’s an area that the Association has substantially expanded in recent years.
The new trainees started off their learning journey at the PCA’s new dedicated practical training facility in Huntingdon, which the Association opened last year following a five figure investment to create a purpose-built centre with a mix of practical areas and classroom environments.
Once the trainees have completed their apprenticeships, a clear route is also in place to progress their careers.
Future steps could include achievement of the PCA’s Technician Training in Timber and Damp and even the Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments (CSRT).
The PCA has been running both the Surveyor’s Training Course and the CSRT exam it leads to for 22 years. The qualification reached a landmark moment last year when Sarah Haslam, from Cheshire, a building preservation surveyor with Timberwise, became the 1,000th person to achieve the standard.
Other initiatives include the recent launch of a bursary scheme, as well as a CPD programme to provide a structured framework for PCA members who endeavour to develop their skills and knowledge in a way that can be easily verified and demonstrated.
An awards ceremony is also held annually by the association to recognise best practice across the industry.
Mr Hodgson added: “There’s a clear route for progression with training and development initiatives in place to provide those new to the industry with plenty of opportunities to develop their skills and progress their future career.
“We hope that, as well as addressing the immediate need for a new generation of professionals in the preservation industry, the apprenticeship will raise awareness of a rewarding, skilled career in the construction-related sector which is not always on the radar like other trades.”
The PCA is now recruiting for its second cohort of apprentices and training starts on 16th May 2016. Contact Lisa Sheehan at the PCA for more details: Lisa@property-care.org Tel: 01480 400 004.