Waterford Civic Trust with Waterford Wexford ETB (WWETB) celebrated another successful phase of its Local Training Initiative (LTI) scheme. The LTI is a community based training scheme funded by WWETB and looks to develop stonework and other construction skills. Fourteen trainees finished the course and their work was recognised at a ceremony hosted by Waterford Civic Trust. They have learned from a vastly experienced stone mason, Tony Jones and other tutors. Like some trainees before them, this group has helped preserve the ancient stone walls of Blackfriars Abbey in the centre of Waterford City.
This Local Training Initiative offers trainees a chance to develop construction skills. The valuable expertise will help them in their chosen careers. A number of participants will be progressing to work with employers, to hone their skills with further support from WWETB and the LTI Co-ordinator, Tony Jones. The LTI has run very successfully for many years producing high quality trainees with skills and experience in all aspects of heritage stonework and stone construction. The scheme, which is based in the Johnstown Business Park in the city, is run in conjunction with the Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) which has been hugely supportive of the initiative since its inception. Valuable assistance is also provided to the Trust by Waterford City and County Council who are represented on the Trust board.
Teaching and construction techniques for the LTI are taught at Johnstown while actual construction experience with heritage stonework is ongoing at Blackfriars Abbey in the City centre, where re-pointing, repair and conservation of medieval stonework using traditional lime mortar techniques is underway. Similar work has been carried out on the City Walls in various locations under the aegis of Waterford City and County council with supervision by Conservation Officer Ms Rose Ryall. Repair and conservation work in a more modern setting has been undertaken in St Thomas’s church on the Dunmore Road, known to all as the Brass Cock. We would hope to have an open day in Blackfriars in the near future to allow members of the public see the type of specialist work being undertaken by the Trust.
The LTI is supervised by master stonemason Mr Tony Jones who has many years experience in all manner of stone based construction using both traditional and modern skills. Valuable assistance in the course is also provided by a supporting tutor Damien Ryan. Sonya Lakburlawal Petrova and Clare Smith provide support from the Trust offices. The progression rate of the trainees on the Civic Trust LTI is again very high in this phase with over 50% of them proceeding to employment, further training or further skills development. This underlines the quality of the participants involved and their ability, willingness and enthusiasm to learn during the course term. It is now hoped to move and develop a more apprenticeship based scheme in co-operation with the WWETB to assist with skills shortages in the wider construction sector. The LTI is a hugely valuable resource for construction training in Waterford and we are delighted that the WWETB have given the go –ahead for Phase 12 of the scheme to commence shortly when a new batch of trainees will be inducted to the course. We look forward to delivering highly skilled graduates on this LTI scheme into the future.
Waterford Civic Trust is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It is run by a voluntary board. Its admin offices are at Brick Lane Greyfriars Waterford. Telephone 051/ 849602.