The Pirate project has produced new training standards for building with earth and this takes the earlier ECVET project writing training standards for clay plasters to the next level. But what does this mean in terms of a certified training standard in the UK?
The UK training and assessment model allows for training and assessment either in training centres or on site, but the emphasis is on-site. This is why the UK qualification is called the National Vocational Qualification NVQ. To achieve this training at whatever level there has first to be a National Occupational Standard, NOS, a standard which is overseen by a body with representation from the 4 UK nations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In fact the NOS was amended to take account of the ECVET process a few years ago but a thorough review to include both plasters and structures was deemed relevant with the production of the Pirate work. Representatives from the Scottish and English nations NOS bodies invited stakeholders to discuss the new content and how it sits within the existing NOS. It was suggested that the new work should sit within what is called Heritage Skills where there is already mention of earth as a building material. But a major amendment to the existing structure was made to include ‘New Build’ in the title structure, making it clear that although many of the skills are old, what they can be used for is new.
Each line of the NOS has to be examined and amended where necessary, and this mainly concerns the descriptions and activities while much of the mandatory health and safety issues remain unchanged.
Two meetings covered the structures and plasters documents, crucially the plasters work from a few years ago did not have the ‘New Build’ wording. These documents have now been circulated for comment amongst all four nations and are expected to become the new NOS in mid 2015.
This puts Pirate work directly into the certified construction training framework in the UK and opens the door to earth structures and finishes NVQ’s. The next step will be to implement training programs to take advantage of these changes, something P13 has begun to work on!