On Site Assessment and Training (OSAT)

Training takes place on site, with 3-5 visits from an Assessor. At the end of a pre-defined period - often 12 months - the trainee will have completed a portfolio of evidence which will also be assessed.

On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) is a training initiative launched by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). It is targeted at construction workers who have skills, experience and training but no formally recognised qualifications and helps them to get the qualifications they need to prove they can do the job.

It is the route for skilled and competent, but unqualified, construction workers to turn their existing skills and experience into a nationally recognised qualification such as an NVQ or the Scottish equivalent qualification SVQ.

The OSAT process confirms existing worker skills, and tests what they can do in the workplace. The benefits are that:

  • Employees of all ages and abilities can be trained for a nationally-recognised qualification;
  • Employers benefit from productive work while training is in progress;
  • Existing skills, everyday tasks and routine training are used as evidence for qualifications;
  • Workers are able to protect themselves and fellow workers in terms of health and safety, and gain better protection in terms of their future employment; and
  • It increases the qualifications base of the workforce and ensures construction employers meet their qualification and quality targets.


Traineeships support young people to develop the skills they need to secure and succeed in employment, including apprenticeships. Heritage Craft Alliance is the only training provider currently offering a Heritage Construction Skills Traineeship Programme. Introduced in August 2013 the course is open to 16- to 23-year-olds (and young people with learning difficulty assessments up to the end of the academic year in which they turn 25).  

This programme lasts 5 months and leads to accredited qualifications in traditional masonry, brickwork, wood occupations and lime mortars. 


Formal Apprenticeships and NVQs

A trainee must be employed to gain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)

A modern apprenticeship at Level 2 or 3 will involve a period of training within a college or other training centre, combined with on-site work-based training. The trainee is employed and usually spends one day per week in college. Successful candidates will gain a full NVQ Diploma. 

Some trainees are unable to find a job but want to work in construction. They will be able to take the college based course, but will only gain a Technical Certificate through this route and not the full NVQ.

There is currently only one heritage apprenticeship available and this is offered through the Heritage Craft Alliance. It is a two year course and is open to those holding a Level 2 construction qualification or a minumum of 5 years working in the sector. There are two routes, Masonry: covering masonry, brick and earth and Wood: covering all aspects of carpentry and joinery. Go to the Training Directory for more details.


Specialist Apprenticeships and Upskilling Programmes (SAPs and SUPs)

These programmes are comprised of training modules, which can be delivered through a flexible timetable of short duration off the job training sessions (typically SAPs = total of 30 days and SUPs can be 5-10 days of training) as well as on the job mentored training.

The content within the modules will provide the candidate with the necessary formal training to provide them with the skills and knowledge to achieve the NVQ Level 3 qualification over a period not exceeding one year.

Off-the-job training is provided by Industry recognised experts in their field. Access to both programmes is open to candidates of all ages. For eligble employers, CITB grant funding is available.

Currently, there are Heritage SAPs for:

  • Brick
  • Lime Plastering (Fibrous)
  • Lead
  • Roof Slating & Tiling
  • Stone
  • Wood

There are Heritage SUPs for:

  • Lead
  • Roof Slating & Tiling
  • Stone
  • Wood

Go to the Training Directory to find courses.



There are a range of university-accredited built environment  conservation degrees available from Foundation (Level 5) to Masters (Level 7 Degrees). They tend to be a mix of classroom and practical sessions, although some may have more practical aspects than others.

Go to the Training Directory to find training providers offering degree courses.


Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Continuous progressional development courses are usually of short duration (half day to three days in length) and can be either classroom or practical / live-site based. Generally, those belonging to a professional body such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) or the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) will need to complete a set number of hours of CPD training over the course of each year to maintain or increase their membership status. Go to the Training Directory to find CPD courses. 

Short Courses

Short courses are available across a wide range of  traditional building craft occupations and subjects. These courses may well be appropriate for CPD training  but equally, they may be appropriate for volunteers, home owners and others with an interest in traditional building skills.

They may include 'hands on' training, be classroom based, involve 'live site walks & talks' or a combination of these. See the Training Directory for details of short courses.


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