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Check back here regularly to find out what's going on at NSITG.

The last meeting of the NSITG was held on Thursday 3rd November 2016 at the offices of Sandberg, 40 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0EB at 10:30am.


The Minutes which include the latest status on the Stonemasonry Trailblazer Apprenticeship development and the Stonemasonry National Occupational Standards Review, plus news of CITB funding opportunities for SMEs can be found below.


Anyone wishing to attend future meetings should notify Ian Major at ian.major@stonetrain.org.uk

NSITG Minutes 3rd November 2016.docx
Microsoft Word document [78.9 KB]

Do you know abut the NHTG Bursary Scheme?


The National Heritage Training Group's Bursary Scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, gives trainees across England the opportunity to work alongside a team of specialist craftspeople on historic buildings, focusing on developing skills in conservation and restoration. The placements offer a broad range of learning opportunities and allow trainees to work towards a Level 3 Heritage Skills NVQ. The placements last around 6 months – to a year and the trainees are paid.

The NHG are advertising new placements every week at the moment in many different craft subjects.  

Details about the bursary and opportunities to apply for can be found here http://www.the-nhtg.org.uk/bursary-scheme/


Trailblazer Apprenticeships


An NSITG facilitated group of stone sector employers has submitted an "Expression of Interest" to BIS for the development of a new Apprenticeship for the natural stone secotor. The EOI includes provision for a number of optional pathways reflecting the variety of specialisms within the sctor inculding banker mason, stone fixer (interiors as well as exteriors inc. cladding), memorial mason, stone carving, stone draughtmanship, facade prservation and heritage mason.


The Government has introduced a review of apprenticeships which was first published in 2013 entitled The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan 3.  Their aim is to grow the number of apprenticeships available, but more importantly, put employers in the driving seat.


Future apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers, making them more relevant and thus more attractive to both existing and new employers. Find out more in the powerpoint presentation below.

Trailblazer Apprenticeships(2).pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [107.3 KB]

For the successful development of new "Trailblazer" stonemasonry apprenticeships it is vital that sufficient employers in the natural stone sector are engaged. 


If you would like to attend and have your say on the way forward for apprenticeships in our sector then please email Ian Major at ian.major@stonetrain.org.uk or, alternatively, Michelle Turner at Stone Restoration Services - michelleturner@srslimited.co.uk


Apprentices go (NI) free

No more NI. A new government financial incentive for employing apprentices came into effect on 6 April 2016. As an employer you’re entitled to an exemption from secondary Class 1 NI contributions on wages you pay apprentices, if at the time they are under 25. The exemption only applies to employers’ contributions. Your apprentices therefore continue to pay primary Class 1 contributions at the same rates as other employees.

Exemption limit. The exemption applies to earnings up to the NI upper limit, which for 2016/17 is £827 per week. In the unlikely event that you pay an apprentice more than the upper limit in any pay period, you’ll have to pay NI at the normal rate (13.8%) on the excess.

Check your software. You should by now have updated your payroll software for the 2016/17 year, so the new exemption for apprentices will be available by entering the right information.

Tip. Notify whoever runs your payroll about employees to which the exemption applies. It’s then a simple matter for them to make the appropriate entry in your payroll software to claim it.

Since 6 April 2016 you aren’t liable to pay employers’ NI contributions on apprentices’ wages as long as they were younger than 25 on the date they were paid. Make sure that your payroll manager is aware of any employees to which the exemption applies.

CITB Flexible and Structured Funding


The CITB has recently launched a new approach to funding support for training and skills development. The objectives are as follows.


•Enable more employers to access the funding support
•More straightforward to access
•Enable employers and industry stakeholders to access funding for skills, training and/or resources
•Be pro-active and responsive
•Take a forward look– holding reserves when needed for future use
•Both transparent and fair
•Delivers value for money


Find out more on the powerpoint presentation below.

CITB Flexible and StructuredFunds(2)pptx[...]
Microsoft Power Point presentation [344.4 KB]

Specialist Apprentice Programme (SAP) Heritage Skills Level 3 Stonemasonry


An important announcement regarding training and assessment provision.


StoneTrain (the training division of Stone Federation GB) is delighted to announce a new partnership with Building Crafts College, Stratford, London for delivery of the Specialist Apprentice Programme (SAP) Heritage Skills Level 3 Stonemasonry.


Developed by natural stone heritage, conservation and repair experts the Specialist Apprentice Programme involves 20 days of off-site training delivered on a day release basis and for CITB registered companies the programme is fully grant funded. Companies do not have to be Levy payers to qualify for funding support and upon achievement of the L3 NVQ, successful candidates will then be eligible to apply for a CSCS Advanced Craft Gold Card.


The training embraces a wide range of subjects including the historical backgrounds to the materials, tools, equipment and techniques used on stone buildings dating from Roman times through to the present day. Included are the causes of decay of stone and mortar and the failure of stonework, and the appropriate methods of undertaking sympathetic repairs.


Off-the-job training sessions at combined with employer-led, supervised on-the-job practical application of the knowledge gained, candidates will gain comprehensive knowledge of building conservation, repair and restoration. The training modules will be flexible to facilitate the on-the-job demands of the employer’s core work.


In addition to the 20 Day SAP, Building Crafts College will also be able to offer the two Specialist Upskilling Programmes (or SUPs) one of 5 days and a second of 10 days. Both SUPs deliver the same Heritage Level 3 NVQ but recognise that much more experienced candidates require fewer off-the-job training days, An on-line questionnaire and a telephone interview will be used to ensure that all candidates for the SAP or the SUPs are placed on the programme that best suits their needs.


The cost of the 20 Day SAP at Building Crafts College is £3,000 and the minimum CITB Grant available is presently £4,125, though for Levy paying companies fulfilling certain terms and conditions, £5,033 may be available.


The 10 Day SUP costs £1,900 and a minimum of £2,225 of grant funding is available.


The 5 Day SUP costs £1,400 and a minimum of £2,125 of grant funding is available.


Anyone wishing to more about the programmes and/or to register their interest should contact either:


Ian Major, Manager: StoneTrain on 07851 063938 or email: ian.major@stonetrain.org.uk or Nigel Gilkison at Building Crafts College on 020 8552 1705 or email at nigel.gilkison@thebcc.ac.uk


SUP Stone Industry Professional Practice


The Natural Stone Industry Training Group (NSITG) in conjunction with Stone Federation GB has developed a new training course and qualification. Stone Industry Professional Practice comprises approximately eight days of training spread over one year and is principally (but not exclusively) aimed at:


1) Industry new entrants and/or those with a general construction background needing to better understand working with natural stone.

2) Time-served masons/restorers/operatives progressing into management


Candidates who successfully complete this new course will achieve an NVQ Diploma in Level 3 Construction Contracting Operations Site Technical Support and this will allow them to apply for a CSCS Gold Card.


The summary content of the training is as follows:


  • Stone geology plus BSEN Standards, CE Marking and Sustainability
  • Quarrying, mining and initial stone processing inc site visits
  • The Architect’s view plus Drawing and Design best practice
  • Stone fixing inc. Substrates, adhesives, grouts, fixing systems, water management, cavity insulation, paving and flooring
  • The selection and testing of natural stone, fixing systems, cladding, movement joints
  • Understanding natural stone in construction, Codes of Practice
  • Stone fixing site visit
  • Conservation, Restoration and Repair
  • Estimating and Contracts

Training deliverers are long-standing Stone Federation GB members and leaders in their particular fields.


A second fully funded pilot will commence in 2017 and anyone interested in registering candidates for the programme should contact Ian Major on 07851 063938 or email ian.major@stonetrain.org.uk

SUP Stone Professional Practice.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [428.8 KB]
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