The latest conservator to complete basic training over a 2 year period is Gary Graves who was a recipient of an Icon HLF funded internship at Holy Well Glass. Gary has now completed his placement and we are delighted that this has been a resounding success. Gary has now been employed as a team member at Wells.
Another key member of staff Helen Chick joined us following a degree in sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan, having shown a keen interest in getting involved in glass conservation.
Our structure training is based on the valuable work done by the BSMGP accreditation scheme, and the Glaziers Company 'award for excellence' We have also learned a great deal from the excellent in-house training scheme designed by Tom Kupper at Lincoln Cathedral. Helen's course has serve to extend her knowledge and craft technique.
It is crucial that we encourage young people into stained glass to keep alive craft traditions, which we have seen decline and almost disappear in other disciplines. The historic method of educating younger people was through the now largely vanished apprenticeship system. There have been concerns that the laudable attempt to revive this in the form of the modern apprenticeship/NVQ system has not made available courses tailored to the particular needs of aspiring professionals in specialised crafts such as ours.
The route which we chose for Helen was NVQ level 3 which Steve Clare helped to develop with assistance from the BSMGP conservation committee, the Glaziers Trust, and the Glass Qualifications Authority which provided the basis of a really good level 3 NVQ better tailored towards stained glass trainees.
During her succesful work towards NVQ level 3 qualification, Helen visited Antwerp to experience first hand the training methods for conservators instigated by Joost Caen in that City, which are renowned, she was also fortunate to be found a placement at the exemplary glass conservation studio at Cologne Cathedral.
Due to uncertainties which sadly surround the future of NVQ's this workshop now supports the Icon CTQ (Conservation Technician Qualification) which has now superceded NVQ as the first level training qualification of choice for the stained glass conservation fraternity.
Steve Clare has agreed to work as an external assessor for that qualification.
It should be noted that the successful outcome of in house training requires a very pro-active involvement on the part of the senior conservator in charge of training.