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How Coniston develops heritage skills with apprentices

4 March 2020

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Coniston will be a platinum sponsor of the CIOB Conservation Conference in April. Here the company talks about its work with apprentices in heritage skills.

For the fifth year running, Coniston is proud to be a sponsor of the CIOB Conservation Conference. The conference, taking place on 28 April, is a key event in the diary for the conservation sector, with a range of guest speakers and case study presentations.

This year, Coniston’s operations director, Mustafa Ulla FCIOB, will present Coniston’s approach to apprenticeships within the heritage sector and collaborative working, to an audience from all corners of the conservation industry.

Coniston is a main contractor, with a number of offices throughout London and Kent. Founded in 1979, it has been specialising in conservation and heritage work for over 40  years, during which it has had the privilege of working in some of the UK’s most prestigious heritage buildings.

Many of these have been award-winning projects, with work recognised in the RIBA, RICS, Museums + Heritage and Europa Nostra awards. An impressive portfolio of work includes clients such as The British Museum, Canterbury Cathedral, the National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and Historic Royal Palaces.

Currently Coniston is working at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and the King’s School, Canterbury, carrying out restoration and conservation projects.

The completed lead roof of Canterbury Cathedral

Over the five years that Coniston has been sponsoring the conference, its presentation slot at the event has provided a unique insight into a number of its projects, including the restoration of the roof at the Wallace Collection, the reinstatement of the Clocks and Watches Gallery at The British Museum and the RIBA National Award-winning conservation of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

This year, in keeping with the conference theme of ‘Future Skills for Traditional Buildings’, Coniston will be presenting the contemporary approach it has adopted to encouraging apprenticeship schemes within the industry through collaborative working.

The subject of skills and apprenticeships within the heritage sector is of particular interest to Coniston, having given a presentation at last year’s event examining exactly this concern and highlighting the differences in the approach to apprenticeship value between the UK and German construction industries.

In practice Coniston has taken on trainees and apprentices from colleges and universities, providing both trade and management opportunities and is therefore in an informed position to provide an interesting insight into how the industry in general and specifically the conservation sector might improve the perception of apprenticeships demonstrating their true worth.

The CIOB Conservation Conference, Future Skills for Traditional Buildings, is being held on Tuesday 28 April at Church House, Westminster. Please see the CIOB event website for more details or to book.

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