A future for our past: repair, retrofit, and resilience


A future for our past: repair, retrofit, and resilience

We are thrilled to announce a momentous project that is set to revolutionise heritage preservation and construction skills in our region. Thanks to the generous grant from the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund and the collaboration between us, here at the Tywi Centre, CITB and Cyfle Building Skills, we are embarking on a journey that will not only empower our local craftspeople but also ensure the sustainability of our treasured historic buildings.

A holistic training approach

The heart of this project is the delivery of an NVQ Level 3 training and work placement programme for six students in Heritage Stonemasonry, Carpentry, and Plastering. These students will undergo four weeks of specialised construction training at the Tywi Centre, followed by a year of assessment and valuable placements with local companies engaged in heritage projects. This practical experience will enable them to gain the necessary expertise required for the qualification and make them job-ready.

In addition to this, there will be supplementary Level 3 accredited training in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older Buildings and Level 3 accredited Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings. These courses will be made available to 58 local contractors, enriching their skill set for a niche yet significant market.

A response to Net Zero Wales goals

Wales boasts a rich cultural heritage, with approximately one-third of its housing stock being traditionally constructed, amounting to 500,000 homes. This project directly aligns with the Net Zero Wales goals by focusing on delivering training that ensures the retention and retrofitting of our existing housing stock, not limited to listed buildings. This is crucial in reducing emissions and working towards a more sustainable future for our communities.

A unique offering

The Tywi Centre is currently the sole organisation delivering this qualification in the Wales. Furthermore, it is one of only two organisations offering the L3 Award in Repair and Maintenance and Energy Efficiency Measures in traditional buildings in Wales.

The existing demand for NVQ3 qualifications draws students from large specialist conservation companies outside the region. However, the specific needs of smaller specialist conservation companies in South-West Wales often remain unmet. These local companies may lack eligibility for CITB funding, struggle to release employees for training, or face difficulties in gaining the depth of experience required for the qualification. This project seeks to break down these barriers and provide essential training opportunities.

Meeting a significant demand

The need for these skills is clear. Owners of listed and older buildings frequently encounter challenges in finding skilled craftsmen and women to work on their structures. In Carmarthenshire, where traditional buildings are integral to the economic revitalisation of historic towns, understanding appropriate repair and retrofitting is essential for the sustainability of the building stock.

Our partner, Cyfle Building Skills, recognises the value of supporting the development of traditional building skills and the current lack of training opportunities within the construction sector, making this partnership project essential.

A positive impact

The project offers an opportunity for carpenters, plasterers, and stonemasons/bricklayers in South-West Wales to acquire NVQ Level 3 qualifications in Heritage Skills, diversify their construction skills, and gain valuable work experience.

Additionally, local companies aiming to enhance their employees' skills with accredited Level 3 qualifications in Repair and Maintenance and Energy Efficiency will reap the benefits. The project anticipates that six students will receive training and NVQ3 qualifications, making them highly valuable assets for the heritage construction sector. Furthermore, appropriate repairs, maintenance, and retrofitting will be carried out in the region, contributing to the sustainability of our historic buildings.

This collaboration between the Tywi Centre and Cyfle will facilitate more local construction businesses in the region, providing networking support, information, and continuous professional development opportunities to beneficiaries.

The legacy of this project extends beyond its timeline. By investing in local talent and upskilling, we aim to secure a future where the preservation of historic buildings is in capable hands. The legacy of these trained craftspeople will continue to influence the sector, ensuring the authenticity and durability of our region's historic treasures. The Tywi Centre and its partners are excited to embark on this journey, laying the foundation for a more sustainable and culturally rich future.

Stay tuned for more updates as we progress with this transformative project!

For more information and updates, contact us by clicking here.