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Hard Landscaping Training Group Bulletin

I wrote to request an update from the alleged saviour of the paving industry, the Hard Landscaping Training Group (HLTG) on October 31st 2005. I wrote because I hadn't heard a peep out of them since a telephone conversation with the national co-ordinator during the summer, when much was promised, but nothing seemed to be delivered.

The following is the response I received a week ago, 10th February 2006. No apology for the 3½ month delay in replying; no request to promote the HLTG via this website; just a curt one-line covering email.

Normally, I like to 'improve' press releases and other info supplied by organisations submitting articles for possible inclusion in these News pages. I throw in a few images, amend and extend the text, and generally try to make it vaguely interesting, but other than munging an email address, I just can't be arsed with this. The HLTG have failed to keep this website updated with progress, and have spurned my offers of assistance, so why should I waste my time? They won't thank me for it!

I warned the National Co-ordinator and representatives from one of the sponsoring companies that I would be vociferous in my condemnation if I felt this training scheme was heading in the same way as all the other abandoned attempts that have done NOTHING for our industry, so they can't say they weren't warned!

So here is the very first "Bulletin" from the HLTG, reproduced exactly as it appeared in my inbox. As you'll notice, most of the dates mentioned have already passed, so its value is reduced even further. I'm sure all of you contractors that have been asking me for news about this scheme, which I first mentioned to you in July of last year, will be underwhelmed by what has happened to date. I publish this "Bulletin" verbatim in the hope that someone, anyone within the HLTG will wake up and realise what a bollocks this is turning out to be. There's a lot of interest amongst the contracting community in sourcing quality training, leading to nationally recognised accreditation and qualifications, but the HLTG seems to be focussed on its own navel and ignoring those in the trade that want to make a difference.

hard landscape training group
Try not to fall ever your comments are welcome in The Brew Cabin discussion forum where a thread is up and running, but for those of you reluctant to sound off in public quite as vocally as I am wont to do, you can email your thoughts to me or give me a call and I promise to respect your anonymity.


                   12 KEELING ROAD,



                                  STAFFORDSHIRE.  ST10 1HB

                                  TEL/FAX:  01538 751974

                                  E-MAIL:  hardlstg AT




Welcome to the first Bulletin from the Hard Landscape Training Group.  This will be a quarterly update, containing items of interest to members.   If anyone has anything they wish to contribute they are very welcome to let me have copy.


The Hard Landscape Training Group has been busy during the winter months with requests for Quotations for training and Training Courses taking place in various parts of the country.  February promises to be a busy month as well with the following courses already booked.


Health & Safety Courses                                  Manual Handling/Safe Lifting            

6th February in Chichester            14th February at Sheffield

24th at Astley, Greater Manchester                       27th and 28th at Derby.

16th at Kenilworth, Warwicks

27th at Birmingham



The Bradstone/HLTG sponsored courses have, unfortunately have been delayed by Bradstone for several months, and apart from a pilot course held at Hull in October with another Instructor, the end of January saw the first full course held at the Aggregate Industries Quarry at Croft in Leicestershire. Due to the short notice we were only able to raise 5 trainees for that course, but those attending found it a very useful and enjoyable three days.


The only other course Bradstone has agreed to is due to be held on 21st – 23rd February, at the Bradstone/Aggregate Industries works at Hulland Ward, Derbyshire. We already have 7 trainees booked and hope for the full quota of 8 on this course!  If you are interested in sending any staff please let me know immediately, as we only have the one place left.  I can assure you it will  be an enjoyable, very informative course – all for the nominal cost of £50 per trainee for the whole 3 days!


21-23 February, Bradstone/HLTG Block Paving, Hulland Ward, Derbys


I will be meeting with Bradstone in the near future and hopefully they will support further courses later in the year.



Many of the Training Group courses organised during the first months of activity have been mainly for companies who have booked most if not all the places for their staff.


I have attached a list of courses that are awaiting additional trainees to make them viable – if you are interested in taking any places on these courses please let me know as soon as possible.


Chainsaw – Basic Maintenance and Operation (Cross Cutting) 2 Days February Site at Warwick 3 places available.  £180 per 2 day course per trainee.

Health & Safety Course at Astley, Gtr. Manchester on 24th February several places available.  £52 per trainee

Health & Safety Course at Kenilworth, Warwicks. On 16th February several places available. £52 per trainee.


February/March  Safe Use of Pesticides Training (PA1) Cost per Trainee £60

Safe use of Knapsacks (PA6).  Cost per trainee £65  Midlands/North West


Manual Handling/Safe Lifting Courses available £POA


Block Paving Courses and Slabbing/Kerbing Courses can be organised to order.



The HLTG is a nationally based training group, and I think with the spread of courses we have carried out during the first months, has seen us delivering training to the various Regions.  I am always pleased to hear of local venues that could be accessed for use for training courses. 



The Chairman of the Training Group – Terry Pointer chaired his first meeting in November. This is one of the two Committees that oversee the activities /direction of the Training Group which, as well as organising short Training Courses will be responsible for working with the industry to improve the Hard Landscape Sector profile.  The improvement of the NVQs Levels 2 and 3 for the Hard Landscape Sector is the first project the Committee are overseeing



The Contractor and Steering Committees have been working towards submission of an application to Lantra (who oversee the Qualification Standard for the Land Based Industries, for a specific Hard Landscape Sector NVQ Award).


The Committee have gone through all the Units contained in the full Amenity Horticulture NVQ levels 2 and 3 and have identified those Units that are relevant to the Hard Landscape Sector. 


We now need the assistance of members of the Training Group to write to Lantra at Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks.  CV8 2LG.  If the industry would like to see the establishment of the Hard Landscape Sector NVQ Award we must make Lantra agree to Incremental Change (which dispensation started on1.1.06) If the Contractors within the industry would like to see a change in Standard and Structure of the existing Amenity Horticulture NVQs to make them more applicable to this sector of the industry, member must lobby Lantra to undertake this.  As soon as I hear the wording required for this letter I will put together a sample letter for you to use as a template to send to Lantra at the above address.


One of the issues the Committees will also be looking at will be the investigation of the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme for the Hard Landscape Sector. The Committees will be reviewing how it can be improved to encourage School and College leavers to recognise the Sector as a rewarding career.

A Full listing of the members of each of the Committees is included at the end of the Bulletin.




The Training Group now has in place a simple 1-page Website on I have been in touch with the Business Initiative and may be eligible for funding as a new business based within the Staffordshire Moorlands Council area. 


If successful this funding will be used to expand the pages of the Website to include more information on the Group and to have pages which can updated directly so the Training Group can use this to keep the HLTG News Bulletins up to date, and also include a live list of courses for members to access.



This is scheduled for Tuesday 11th April. at 2pm.

Venue:  BALI, Landscape House, Stoneleigh Park, Nr. Kenilworth, Warwicks.

Please come along and meet the other members, and let us have your thoughts and ideas for the development of the Training Group.


The two HLTG Committees are made up as follows:                                  

Contractors Committee

Chairman:  Terry Pointer, Tolly Paving Ltd                              

Vice Chair:  Judy Behl, Scenic Blue Ltd                                   

Peter Dunbavin, Azac Construction

Rod Tweedie, AEL Enterprises Ltd                                                

Andrew Henderson,  Andrew Henderson Ltd                                    

Peter Smurthwaite, PBS Construction (North East) Ltd                                          

Douglas Livingstone, McKean Group Ltd                                           

Stuart Humphrey, Timotay Landscape Ltd

Paul Gaze, CITB-ConstructionSkills                                           

Kath Walker, GTO                                                                                                                                       


The following are proposed course dates, but additional dates will be arranged to suit individual companies. Dates are subject to change if insufficient numbers are booked onto the course to make it viable, or other unforeseen circumstances arise. 

Manual Handling / Safe Lifting                      Abrasive Wheels

Thursday 19th January                                       Friday 24th February

Thursday 26th January, Brighton                        Wednesday 22nd March

Friday 27th January, Gloucester                          Thursday 23rd March

Friday 24th February                                          Friday 24th March

Monday 27th February, Derby                            Wednesday 17th  May

Tuesday 28th February, Derby

Wednesday 1st March

Wednesday 22nd March

Thursday 23rd March

Friday 24th March

Thursday 18th May


ROLO Health & Safety                                   Emergency First Aid

Monday 16th January, St. Andrews.                   Wednesday 18th January

Tuesday 17th January, St. Andrews                    Thursday 2nd February

Monday 6th February, Chichester                       Tuesday 21st February

Thursday 16th February, Kenilworth                  Thursday 30 March

Friday 24th February, Astley, Gtr Manchester    Monday 24th April

Thursday 20th April

Wednesday 17th May


Know your Knotweed

Tuesday 17th January, Kenilworth  (Further courses if sufficient demand)


Pesticides Courses                                            Bradstone  Block Paving

Wednesday 18th January                                    Tuesday 24th January – Day 1

Wednesday 25th January                                    Wednesday 25th January – Day 2                                 

Wednesday 22nd February                                 Thursday 26th January – Day 3

Thursday 23rd February                                     Tuesday 21st February – Day 1

Tuesday 14th March                                           Wednesday 22nd   February – Day 2

Wednesday 15th March                                      Thursday 23rd February – Day 3

Thursday 4th May                                               Additional Dates will be notified

Friday 5th May


Chainsaw Courses                              Machinery & Tools: 

Monday 13th February                         FLT / Mowers / Brushcutters and Trimmers etc

Tuesday 14th February                         Monday 30th January

Tuesday 20th June                                 Friday 24th February

Wednesday 21st June                            Thursday 23rd March

                                                               Monday 22nd May


Drystone Walling                                Other Courses available

Monday 6th March                                 Catscan


                                                               Pruning / Plant Knowledge



Please ring if you have any comments, or contributions to the Bulletin, or if you need any information on any of the courses listed above or any other training requirements.


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