New post graduate course will help remake history in Scotland

APD Group

New post graduate course will help remake history in Scotland

Partners in a new innovative post graduate course are confident it will fill a gap in practical building conservation training in Scotland.

The Advanced Professional Diploma in Technical Building Conservation – set at SCQF level 11 – has been created by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in conjunction with Forth Valley College and approved by the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA). The first cohort of students began their studies on Monday 21 August.

They will be based at The Engine Shed in Stirling - the new national centre for building conservation – and which also acts as the base for HES’ wide-ranging technical conservation outreach and educational activities, and provides laboratories for HES conservation scientists and world-renowned digital documentation unit.

All students on the course will be enrolled as Forth Valley college students and will have access to the college’s Learning Resources Centres, online learning platforms such as Moodle and all recreational facilities such as refectories and gyms.

The new programme of modules – which can be studied full-time over a 10 month period or part-time - focuses on the nature, use and repair of traditional building materials, in Scottish architectural and construction traditions, and guided by international conservation principles and practices.

Candidates – who will range from seasoned industry professionals to recent graduates in architecture, surveying, planning, engineering or archaeology - will learn how to manage conservation projects, studying methods of documenting, upgrading, adapting and managing the historic built environment, including the need for sustainable sourcing of appropriate replacement materials. There is also a major emphasis on undertaking practical repair, monitoring and maintenance work.

The course provides unrivalled access to national and international experts in the field, including materials scientists, traditional craftsmen and a range of leading conservation experts. Students will also have a unique opportunity to gain insights into major repair schemes, undertaking site visits and fieldwork at active conservation projects across Scotland, from HES properties such as Edinburgh Castle and Dunkeld Cathedral, to HES grant-aided sites such as the Glasgow School of Art and St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross.

Ian Morrison, Head of Construction at Forth Valley College, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in the creation of this exciting new post graduate diploma course which will take building conservation training to the next level in Scotland. Our relationship with HES is very important to us and this is shown by the success of their stonemasonry skills centre based at our Stirling Campus. We are confident this new initiative will be just as successful and help to fill a gap in the market for training construction professionals to work on the traditional skills conservation projects of the future.”

Gordon Urquhart, Postgraduate Course Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said:

“All the staff at The Engine Shed are excited about the start of the new postgrad course.  It marks a new departure for architectural conservation education in Scotland, being the first programme of its kind to focus on the nature, use and repair of traditional building materials.  It is also a great fit for the other programmes that we’ve been developing with Forth Valley College over the years.”

Hamish Brad, Customised Awards and Endorsement Manager at SQA, said:

“The new qualification offers candidates the opportunity to really develop their professional skills and knowledge, and enhance their career. Forth Valley College and Historic Environment Scotland have created a post-graduate level course at SCQF level 11 that will truly add value to candidates’ experience, and make them an essential addition to historical conservation and restoration building projects across the country.”


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