01449 711642


The City & Guilds National Skill Assessment & Qualification Scheme for the Saddlery Trade
The C & G Saddlery Skill Assessments are the recognised qualifications for the saddlery trade and form the foundation of the criteria for individual membership of the Society of Master Saddlers. As the name suggests, the requirements of Level 1 (Basic Skills) are to demonstrate that the candidate has grasped the fundamentals, both of the craft skills and also of the use of tools and the properties of the materials used in making saddles, bridles and harness. At Level 2 (Intermediate Skills) and at Level 3 (Advanced Skills), the specific requirements for the production of the three categories of tack (bridles, saddles and harness) are assessed separately.

At the same time, in each case, candidates are required to give written answers to questions designed to show the assessor that they have a good knowledge of materials, processes, products and associated costs related to the practical assessment.

Level 1 (Basic Skills)
Candidates bring with them to the Assessment Centre an Irish Martingale and a pair of Stirrup Leathers which they have made previously. At the Centre, in addition to the written answers to questions (taking about thirty minutes), they are required to make a Bridle Headpiece in not more than 3 hours.

> Click here to download the Level 1 handbook.

Please click on a thumbnail below to enlarge.

The Scheme is administered by:

The Society of Master Saddlers,
Green Lane Farm,
IP14 5DS

Tel 01449 711642  Email: enquiries@mastersaddlers.co.uk

Applicants may be assessed at one of the following Centres:

The Saddlery Training Centre Ltd,
3H Stanley Court,
Glenmore Business Park,
Telford Road,
Tel: 01722 341144 Email: info@saddlerytraining.com

Capel Manor College,
Bullsmoor Lane,
 Tel: 0303 003 1234 Email:line.hansen@capel.ac.uk

All enquiries regarding the scheme should be directed to The Society of Master Saddlers.

In 1987, the first Skills Tests, devised in conjunction with City & Guilds, were made available to those working in the saddlery trade and the compilation of a National Register of Qualified Saddlers began. By early 2001, a total of 1,177 qualifications at Levels 1, 2 and 3 had been gained by over 700 members of the saddlery trade.

In the meantime, with the introduction of National Vocational Qualifications in all occupations, the Saddlery Steering Group, consisting of many of the original members of the Working Party responsible for the Skills Tests, together with representatives of NCVQ and the Department for Education and Employment, spent a great deal of time and effort trying to devise NVQs for the saddlery trade. By 1996, it was realised that the character of the saddlery trade, with much of the training being carried out prior to employment and with many employees in small workshops scattered around the country, made it incompatible with the NVQ system and, with the blessing of NCVQ and the DfEE, the Saddlery Steering Group ceased its NVQ development work. However an NVQ has now been developed as part of the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.

Although the NVQ system did not work in practice for the saddlery trade at that time, much of the thinking behind it was seen to be relevant in the review and improvement of the Saddlery Skills Assessment Scheme. In the following months, the Steering Group reviewed and revised the standards.

Whilst the qualifications can be easily recognised as successors to the Skills Tests formulated in the early eighties, their scope has been broadened and the skill requirements, particularly at the Advanced Level, have been considerably increased. It was realised that, in addition to the craft skills required of a saddler, it was important that those in training should have a sound knowledge of other things that would arise in the course of their work.

In July 1997, the Revised Standards were launched at Saddlers' Hall and an agreement was signed with City & Guilds to offer the new qualifications to those working in the saddlery trade.