Incredible glass restoration project at Grade I listed Manchester Town Hall

GQA centre Absolute Training Solutions Ltd has contributed to the successful restoration of historic stained-glass panels at Grade I listed Manchester Town Hall by supporting employees of Recclesia Stained Glass through NVQ attainment. Grade 1 listed buildings, which are incredibly rare in the UK are those deemed to be of exceptional national, architectural or historical significance.

This is an incredible example of how traditional skills fit into a modern world, and an example of just one career path which is open to people thinking about the Fenestration Industry as a home for their skills and their passion.

The achievement of the NVQs was funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, working in partnership with the European Social Fund.

Background Information

Recclesia Stained Glass, whose staff undertook the qualifications and carried out the works are specialists in the conservation and repair of glass in historic and listed buildings, churches, ancient sites and ruins.

Manchester Town Hall

This project involved the removal, restoration and installation of the glass in the Great Hall at the Town Hall building which is undergoing a major four-year refurbishment programme. The employees of Recclesia required a recognised NVQ qualification to fulfil the contractual obligations of the contract and approached Absolute Training Solutions Ltd to deliver the ESF funded level 2 qualification for five members of staff. Qualifications were undertaken by members of staff from the glass processing side of the business who were involved on the restoration element of the contract, and one member of staff who was responsible for the removal and installation of the specialist glass and its transportation to their studio in Swinton.

Outcome and impact

Katherine Walton, Senior Stained-Glass Conservator for Recclesia said “We are one of the few conservation companies in the UK that continues to maintain a full in-house staff of conservators and traditionally skilled craftsmen and women. This is one of the main reasons we are chosen to work on some of the UK’s most iconic buildings.”

“The service provided by Absolute Training Solutions Ltd, and the European Social Fund enabled us to deliver the highest standards and ensured that all staff were fully qualified to meet the needs of the project.”

“Our staff have benefited immensely developing skills and knowledge. These qualifications will give the company the opportunity to access more projects in the future as more of our staff are now multi skilled with a recognised qualification. The company has benefited greatly from our staff gaining new skill levels.

What the learners said

Katherine Ladyman, Glass Processing Level 2 achiever continued “I was motivated to apply for the course because I really enjoy learning new things and being creative. The NVQ in Glass Processing has helped me expand my knowledge and gain new skills. I am happy that I have now progressed to a higher level which will further enhance my knowledge and understanding of the glass processing sector.”

Tomos Ball, Glazing Level 2 achiever said “my motivation to apply for this course was to gain more knowledge of my job and the industry. I enjoyed the observations and the support provided to me by my tutor Roy. I was very happy with the outcome and the achievement of the glazing qualification. The experience will be valuable and will benefit me in the future.”

What Absolute Training Solutions said

Speaking for Absolute Training Solutions, Roy Pusey the scheme tutor commented “I was very impressed with the quality of the work produced by all the employees at Recclesia. The work currently being carried out on the Manchester Town Hall contract is of an extremely high standard and all staff have shown that they have the skills and the knowledge to meet their contractual obligations.”

What GQA Qualifications said

Speaking for GQA the awarding body who write the qualifications taken by the team at Recclesia, CEO Mick Clayton said, “It is great to hear that what you might call traditional skills are still alive and well in the modern world and that there are people who want to learn them and carry on the traditions.”

“It is always great news when those people understand the value of qualifications as a way of further developing their knowledge, their skills and their careers, and I am delighted for all the team at Recclesia.”

“The project they are currently working on is a real landmark and something they will always be able to look back on with pride. Congratulations to them all.”