An architectural assistant at Buttress has become the first architectural trainee to complete a heritage construction skills programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme, and delivered by Leeds City Council.
Serena Dias, a graduate from the Manchester School of Architecture, has spent the last year enrolled on the Re-Making Leeds programme while undertaking her Part 1 professional training within Buttress’s historic buildings team.
The programme, which is delivered by the council in partnership with the Leeds College of Building and York College, has provided short training courses to up-skill construction sector professionals and opportunities for skills accreditation for employees in small and medium size enterprises.
This sits alongside the opportunity for young people to undertake funded work-based placements and take part in specialist skills training including; brick work, carpentry and joinery, stonemasonry, painting and decorating, lime plastering and rendering, wall and floor tiling and specialist lead work.
Over the past 12 months, Serena has achieved a Level 2 Award in heritage construction and a Level 3 Award in the repair and maintenance of traditional (pre-1919) buildings. This has been complemented by opportunities to attend site visits across Leeds to gain first-hand experience of heritage skills in action.
Serena now plans utilise this experience as she moves on from Buttress to pursue the next stage of her academic and professional training. Commenting on the experience she said:
“Through Re-Making Leeds I’ve had the opportunity to gain real, hands-on experience of restoration skills. It’s been incredibly useful to spend time on site, try my hand at a range of specialist construction techniques, and then apply that knowledge to projects I’m working on in the office.
“It’s so important that work to the historic environment is done properly. Having completed the programme, I now feel much more confident having conversations with colleagues, contractors and other professionals about heritage projects, working with them to ensure work is delivered to a high standard.”
“I’d like to thank Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund for the opportunity to take part in the programme and I look forward to developing the skills I’ve learnt as I take the next step in my career.”