A NEW heritage carpentry course is being offered to help fill a gap in the market for skilled tradespeople to repair and renovate historic properties.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Tywi Centre, in Llandeilo, is running an NVQ level three diploma course from the spring, giving people a chance to expand their skills and knowledge in the field of heritage carpentry.

The course will include specialist carpentry techniques, restoration of timber products, bench joinery, traditional heavy timber framework, architectural recognition, identification of materials, recognition of defects and understanding conservation law.

Nell Hellier, Tywi Centre’s senior built heritage officer, said: “Wales is crying out for craftsmen and women able to repair historic timberwork, particularly old sash windows.

“Owners of listed buildings are often not allowed to simply replace their old timberwork, but struggle to find people who can repair it.

“We think that there is a real opportunity in the market place for more construction craftspeople with these skills to pick up masses of work.”

The course will run over 18 months, including 20 days of off-site training and workshop-based activities at the Tywi Centre and potentially other local venues including National Trust properties, and on-site assessments carried out at the candidate’s regular place of work.

On completion, as well as gaining an NVQ diploma in heritage skills, candidates will be eligible to apply for a CSCS Heritage Gold Card.

The programme is fully funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is free to eligible companies.

The Tywi Centre is a CITB Approved Training Organisation and was chosen to deliver specialist applied-skills programmes in both heritage carpentry and heritage plastering based on their expertise in these fields.

Cllr Mair Stephens, Executive Board Member for Strategic Planning and Training, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for carpenters to upskill and take advantage of new work opportunities. Likewise, this is good news for owners of historic properties who may struggle to find skilled craftspeople to renovate and repair timberwork.

“It’s great that we have these facilities and skills to offer such programmes here in Carmarthenshire.”

For more information about the course, visit the Tywi Centre website www.tywicentre.org.uk or call 01558 824271.