Matthew’s Journey Through the NVQ3 Course in Heritage Construction Skills!

June 2024

Matthew’s Journey Through the NVQ3 Course in Heritage Construction Skills!

As a provider of the Level 3 NVQ course in Heritage Construction Skills, at the Tywi Centre, we are always inspired by the experiences of our learners. Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with one of our trainees, Matthew, about his journey through the course:

What attracted you to the NVQ3 Qualification in Heritage Construction Skills?

“The unique training facility at the Tywi Centre and the experience and reputation of our course providers made this course a very exciting prospect. Conservation and heritage building courses are few and far between, especially those with the level of detail involved in this NVQ. The bursary placement is an incredible opportunity to upskill and stay within the realm of traditional building.”

What were the highlights?

“One of the standout moments was our team trip to St. Fagans. It was a fantastic opportunity to bond with everyone on the course, and the day was both enjoyable and enlightening. Another highlight was during the second week of training when we worked with hemp for the first time. Joe's demonstration of hemp's uses and qualities was a fascinating experience.”

Is there anything that you have found particularly challenging? If so, how did you deal with this?

“The first week was a steep learning curve and quite intense. We lathed out our wall in preparation for applying the scratch coat of lime putty mix with horsehair. Having never applied plaster to lathe before, I found the weight of the mix difficult to handle, and the force needed to get the plaster to stick to the lathe was a real eye-opener.

 The only way to deal with it was through practice and repetition until I figured out the best way to handle the material and apply it effectively. It was a true baptism of fire.”

What specific skills or techniques did you find most valuable in your training, and how do you anticipate applying them in your future career?

“There have been many valuable skills and techniques learned so far. Particularly, gauging the mix and mortar matching by batch testing to ensure the color and texture are like-for-like. Ruling off and floating were relatively new to me, and covering these extensively in training has been incredibly helpful. These techniques are now part of my everyday work and have allowed me to approach my tasks with greater independence.”

In your opinion, what sets heritage construction apart from other construction trades? Why do you think it is so important?

“For me, protecting our traditional buildings and heritage is more important than ever. It was always an interest of mine, but now I understand how modern methods and materials can negatively impact traditional buildings if used unsympathetically.

Having worked on traditional buildings using modern materials myself, I see the importance of educating myself further to ensure that the buildings I now work on are treated appropriately. It's about providing the building with only what it requires and nothing more.”

What advice would you give to individuals considering pursuing a career or qualification in heritage construction skills?

“Go for it! It’s an exciting and rewarding path. Learning about traditional buildings has opened many doors to working with other traditional trades. The attention to detail covered in the NVQ is a massive benefit to any worker in these construction trades. It's a real-life decision that’s a no-brainer for anyone looking to upskill and learn traditional techniques.”

At the Tywi Centre, we are immensely proud of our learners and blown away by the dedication they show to preserving our heritage. Witnessing firsthand, their growing passion for Heritage trades and receiving positive feedback fuels our motivation to continuously improve and expand our courses.

Our NVQ3 courses are mostly funded by CITB, to whom we are extremely grateful for their ongoing support.  

If you’re considering a career in heritage construction, we encourage you to take the leap and join us. Don’t take our word for it, consider Matthew’s positive experience!