We are delighted to announce that on 1 May The Institute for Apprenticeships approved and published the Standards for the new Stone Trailblazer Apprenticeship.

This is a milestone for the sector and is a culmination of many years of work led by Michelle Turner of Stone Federation member, Stone Restoration Services and a number of other Federation members.

There is still work to be done to secure The End Point Assessment (EPA) so that delivery can commence and work is already underway. National Open College Network (NOCN) is the preferred EPA.

The Trailblazer offers a new apprenticeship with all content based on approved National Occupational Standards.

The occupational optional routes include:

• Banker Stonemason

• Interior Stone Fixer

• Exterior Stone Fixer

• Memorial Stonemason

• Stone Facade Preservation

• Heritage Stonemason

When the Government took over apprenticeships in 2013 it said they had to include a ‘final exam’ (now known as the ‘end point assessment’) that has to be administered by someone other than those involved in the training and will involve the colleges that teach stonemasonry.

The Trailblazer committee is always open to comments and suggestions from anyone within the sector who will be using or delivering the new apprenticeship, or who wants to help with the development of the end point assessment. Please contact Claire Wallbridge at the Natural Stone Industry Training Group on claire@nsitg.org.uk.