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Forest of Dean company reducing the heritage skills shortage

A Forest of Dean company is tackling the skills crisis in the heritage construction industry.

There is a serious shortage of skilled tradespeople entering the heritage construction industry, with a lack of training one reason for the decline. Now CarringtonLIME Heritage Skills Training is tackling the issue head-on.

The Forest of Dean company is the largest provider of lime plastering courses in the UK, running courses for homeowners, professionals and tradespeople throughout the year.

The heritage industry is very difficult to get into, with very few entry level qualifications or job opportunities. That's why CarringtonLIME launched its Professional Heritage Plastering Programme last year - an intensive four-month course, open to everyone.

Students learnt the art of lime plastering, were given business and marketing lessons and most importantly had the opportunity to work on a real job site. The programme was a great success and is being rolled out again this year, with the support of The Radcliff Trust and Friends of the Cotswolds.

Kate Kerslake, director of CarringtonLIME, said: "Sadly, it is not only heritage crafts that are suffering with a lack of training. There are currently no colleges in Gloucestershire offering a formal qualification in general plastering. Students wanting to learn how to plaster now have to travel to Bristol or Weston-super-Mare."

Later this year, CarringtonLIME will be opening applications for a Level 3 NVQ in heritage plastering, making it the only provider of a qualification in heritage plastering in England, as well as the only company offering a plastering qualification in Gloucestershire.

Ben Kerslake, master plasterer and lead tutor at CarringtonLIME, said: "The role of the plasterer has changed. No longer is it solely to make a wall flat. The wide range of materials now available means a plasterer has the ability to change the performance of a building. It really is an exciting time to be a plasterer."

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