Apr 26TH

At the heart of tradition

This year we are introducing between 62.5 and 152 hours work experience per student, dependent on the students English and maths commitments. This is a new construction initiative at the College, which will be extremely beneficial by bridging the learner’s course knowledge with onsite experience, preparing learners for their future employability within a unique traditional and specialised trade.

Our students attend College between Wednesdays and Fridays, which frees many up between Mondays and Tuesdays during which they will be locating and experiencing work with a variation of local stonemasonry companies. Students have in addition expressed a keen interest in using their study weeks or holiday periods to fully immerse themselves into a weeklong or two work experience placement at cathedrals.

Due to witnessing their committed enthusiasm for this Emma Dexter decided to use her contacts with the view to set up work experience placements at cathedral works across this side of the UK. It is with the full knowledge that an opportunity such as this will inherently reinforce the learner’s dedication to the craft of stonemasonry, having trained at a cathedral herself. 

We are delighted to have received confirmation from Chris Sampson ’Clerk of works of Exeter Cathedral workshops’ that the Dean and Chapter, have agreed with great enthusiasm, to offer our masonry students work experience placements up to two weeks at a time at Exeter Cathedral under the condition that students send their estimated time frame of availability, a CV and introduction letter followed by two references. This we might add is a rare and extraordinary result due to the vast competition of stonemasons applying for such an opportunity with the hope that they might prove themselves worthy and be taken on in the long term.

However it transpires that due to the increasing reduction of knowledge surrounding this traditional craft in relation to some of the ornate carving and masonry skills, help and support of this nature is now offered by master masons, Dean and Chapters and senior heritage organisations investing with the common goal to preserve these methodologies by passing them on to those committed to this trade and a life time of learning new skills along the way.

The student stone yard workshop and onsite work experience will include:

  •  Onsite Induction covering Health & Safety onsite procedures
  • Experience a variation of masonry related components
  • Dedicated mentoring with master masons
  • Students will be treated as an employee

In order to prevent money standing in the way of experience Emma set up a meeting with -John Udall, THI Project Manager - Planning and Regeneration from Wellingborough Heritage lottery Council who have kindly agreed to fund the overnight B&B accommodation costs (by student application) up to £200 per week.

We are sure that our stonemasonry student’s fully appreciate this work experience opportunity as well as all the surrounding assistance set in place to support them in succeeding in their future trade related employment ambitions.