Alec Ayre from Ayres Plastering, Macclesfield has recently completed the training course for the NVQ3 in Heritage plastering at the Tywi Centre. It has been an absolute pleasure having Alec on the course and we wish him all the best with his assessment and future career in the industry.
This blog was written by Alec as he hopes it will help other people who are considering a career in the Heritage Construction Sector. It's a great read!
TYWI centre review - level 3 in heritage plastering
As some of you know I’ve been studying this year at the TYWI centre in Llandeilo so this is a bit of a review of my time there, I’ll start by saying they offer 3 courses, joinery, stonemasons and plastering, it’s a level 3 in heritage plastering that I went to. This is not a course for homeowners, but if you have some experience and want to build a business out of it, speak to them and they may recommend you get some more experience, will ask your experience if you have enough may accept you on.
Nell - I didn’t see much of Nell but she’s lovely, I accidentally sent her and Tom to Macclesfield ( a 3 and a half hour drive there), but she took it really well and hopefully I made it up to them both. She runs the TYWI centre, really nice like I say.
Helena - Helena is the nicest woman you will ever meet, she will check in on you all regularly, she will deal with anything you throw at her, even if it’s not her job, in my case she took the course payment, split it into four so I could more easily afford it and then the assessment payment was put in at the end. Who does that? Most people would just tell you that you can’t afford it, this has no word of a lie made the biggest impact on my career since I started plastering. I am so grateful, I really couldn’t have done it without.
Tom - really nice, really knowledgeable, Tom is not a plasterer, he’s a joiner but like a lot of people has done just about everything, he focuses more on the legislation, architectural recognition and health and safety but don’t mistake that for him not knowing how to plaster or being able to answer your questions, he’s forgotten more than I know, he’s a really good lad, funny and can talk about anything. Oh and he will talk… a lot. (not a bad thing)
Joe - Most down to earth, nicest guy you’ll meet, very funny and a plasterer through and through, he’s been a self employed plasterer most of his life. He then went and did a masters, just because. He can answer anything, if he doesn’t know, he will literally set up an experiment with you and find out, he might even do that anyway. Joe doesn’t let you hold your self back, if you’re weaker in an area he will help you improve.
Scott - Scott Bradburn is hilarious, nice as pie and knows absolutely anything you can throw at him, he will give as much as you give and I mean that, if you ask him about how some random thing like carton pierre in this instance he will sit there and answer every single question you have, I must’ve dragged certain things out by at least an hour with absolutely every question that popped into my head. Really has time for you so use it and ask!
Every single one of them are absolutely lovely, they are passionate about this field and it really shows, not one of them will turn away an answer and will stay there till well past the time they can leave just to answer your questions, personally I would’ve told myself to go away but they didn’t, if you want to learn about heritage plastering, this is the place to be.
Training - Training consists of four weeks, week 1 is paperwork, architectural recognition seeing a lime kiln, dealing with conservation practices, theory of aggregates, putting scratch coats over lath and mixing a pre-slaked fat lime.
Week 2 is all practical really different mortars, lots of experimenting (thank you Joe), float coats, slaking lime to a putty, mixing.
Week 3 is a mix of practical and health and safety legislation, skimming in lime, finishes like harling, ashlar, bagged render.
Week 4 is purely decorative, insitu, runcast, knocking up some silicon and pouring moulds, cleaning up enrichments, placing on and setting out.
You will also in these weeks go to see, a limekiln and lime mining area in the Brecons, a site where they’ve rebuilt some traditional buildings and dinefwr hall (and big thank you to Scott and Jones and fraser for taking us behind the scenes, really appreciate it).