Opportunities for training in dry stone walling exist throughout the country. The DSWA network of local branches offers a variety of short, usually two-day, courses aimed at beginners seeking to learn the basic skills of the craft. Most courses take place over a weekend and will cater for approximately 10 trainees. Each course is run by recognised DSWA Instructors and will provide sufficient information and practical experience to be able to rebuild a small section of wall. Details of courses available from branches are available here, including the contact person for each area. Branches also offer members the chance to attend practice days, to improve skills or perhaps work towards one of the certificates in dry stone walling. Dry stone walling qualifications and pathways can be found here together with the guidance notes.
Since 2004, DSWA has been able to offer accredited certification, in conjunction with Lantra Awards, which gives trainees the opportunity to gain a vocational qualification in dry stone walling at Level 1/Initial, Level 2/Intermediate or Level 3/Advanced. These qualifications are available via the DSWA branch network and also a number of colleges throughout the country. Training opportunities and length of course do vary with each organisation and you should contact the relevant organisation for full details of their courses.
The dry stone walling qualification at Level 2/Intermediate is part of the Environmental Conservation Apprenticeship for England and Wales, which is a mandatory outcome of the apprenticeship. Full details of this apprenticeship can be found on the Lantra website, www.lantra.co.uk
How to Apply
For people wishing to apply for taking a certificate in dry stone walling, you should complete and return the application form at least six weeks prior to the test day. Payment should accompany your application form, which should be returned to the DSWA office address. Full details of the scheme can be found in the Craftsman Certification Scheme booklet. Successful candidates will receive certificates approximately four weeks after the test date.
Test days must be arranged via approved test centres with a minimum of six candidates required (mixed levels acceptable).
Test opportunities are available to overseas candidates although the Lantra Award option is not applicable. The fees are slightly different for overseas tests in that you are only required to submit the registration fee of £30 (thrity pounds Sterling). The remaining costs for Examiner fees, etc should be arranged directly with the Examiner or test co-ordinator. All other details remain the same as for tests in the UK. An application form for overseas tests is available here. For details of tests please see the International Groups page, under Branches.
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