John Knox Church restoration teamConstruction Industry Training Board (CITB) trainees skilled in the ancient craft of stonemasonry are restoring a 157-year-church in the Adelaide suburb of Morphett Vale.

The State-listed heritage building John Knox Church in William St, Morphett Vale, is re-emerging from ruins after undergoing restoration by an expert team from Edwardstown company Applied Building Conservation Training (ABCT), which is training newcomers in heritage trades skills.

One of Australia’s foremost Stonemasonry Training experts, Keith McAllister of Heritage Stone Restorations at Edwardstown, is collaborating with the CITB through his training company ABCT to provide a "hands on" approach to promoting this traditional profession.

The company employs qualified stonemasons and conservators from Australia and the UK to work on commercial projects while they actively train newcomers in the trade. This joint venture between the CITB and ABCT is a ‘national first’ in stonemasonry training.

John Knox Church in its dayBuilt in 1856, the Gothic-style church with octagonal corner buttresses was originally constructed of freestone quarried from Myles' quarry and slate roof from Willunga. The building was modified in 1876 with buttresses built to support the walls and the slate roof replaced with galvanised iron.

The Stonemasonry Training at Morphett Vale is important because:

  • Stonemasons are in short supply – and SA now has a new industry-based training facility supported by the CITB
  • Experienced Brickies are now up-skilling for valuable career advancements
  • Doorways2construction (D2C) students are being exposed to a side of the industry they would rarely see, especially useful for Onkaparinga Council’s stone built heritage buildings
  • Key Issue: Tough times means the Construction Industry needs to maintain training effort to meet future demand when construction activity picks up.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said the ongoing preservation and restoration of our historic buildings requires a special skill set, with stonemasonry being particularly relevant.

“It will not be possible to preserve our historic buildings in future without a new generation of skilled stonemasons to carry out this important work and I commend CITB for providing training opportunities in this area,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

CITB Chief Executive Officer Steve Larkins said the Board is committed to maintaining its support for industry training, particularly to apprentices and their employers, despite a marked decline in revenue from the Construction Training Levy.

“In the past year the CITB supported more than 4,000 apprentices and their employers, and over 30,000 training places in short courses for workers in the industry ranging from new entrants to ‘old hands’ in many trades,” Mr Larkins said.

New Courses for 2013 are now being developed

The CITB provides funding support to make industry training more affordable and more accessible to the SA Construction Industry. Basically, if you live in South Australia and work in the SA building and construction industry, you are most likely to be eligible to receive subsidised training in all kinds of approved courses.

Visit www.citb.org.au/Careers

Contacts: Steve Larkins, CEO of CITB, on 0408 919 600 / 8172 9500
Heritage Stone Restorations, Keith McAllister, 0414 584 272 / 8297 0700;  
For Media Information & Photos, Mike O’Reilly, 0414 882 505;

CITB background

The CITB is an independent industry authority that supports the training and employment of more than 4500 apprentices and 30,000 ‘current workers’ across all three sectors of the building and construction industry (Housing, Commercial & Civil). Funds for this training are collected in the form of a 0.25 per cent levy on the value of building and construction work that is invested back into the industry as training support. CITB-sponsored training is designed by the industry - for the industry. Training takes place in metropolitan and regional areas, is tailored to the needs of specific sectors and delivered by accredited training providers.

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