If you’d like to have a practical job where high precision and attention to details is required, you could be a stonemason. You would also need to be good at numbers and have the ability to understand and follow architectural plans. There are no set entry requirements for the job, but most employers would need you to have experience on construction sites. Apprenticeship and college education is also available for those who are about to enter the profession of stonemasonry.
What are the Responsibilities of a Stonemason?
Stonemasons are divided into two broad categories. Those who work in workshops, namely banker masons; and fixer masons, those who work on site.
As a banker mason, you would be expected to:
- follow design instructions to carve and shape stone
- give it a textured or polished finish (known as dressing)
- usine hand and power tools
As a fixer mason, you would be expected to:
- build stone walls
- fit cladding, using mortar and specialist fixings
- repair damaged stonework
All stonemasons, no matter what their specialisation is, are expected to:
- repair old buildings and monuments
- carve or repair statues or memorial headstones
- fit stonework like window frames and archways
You would be expected to work with different materials, such as granite, marble, slate, and limestone, depending on the requirements of each particular project.
Entry Requirements and Qualifications
Having college education is not an absolute prerequisite to enter this job. However, you could learn necessary skills, gain work experience, and hence improve your employment prospects by taking one of the following pogrammes:
- Level 1 Award in Stone Masonry Operations
- Level 1 Certificate in Building Craft Occupations
- Level 1 Diploma in Preparation for Employment in the Construction Industries
A wider selection of craft courses relevant to the career of a stonemason is available on the Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC) and National Heritage Training Group websites.
As said above, your employer would prefer you to have experience rather than certificate. Once employed, you will be given necessary training on the job and will have a chance to polish your skills.
Another way to get into the career of a stonemason is through an apprenticeship. You could look for open schemes with building companies and stonemasonries. Entry requirements for apprenticeships would differ depending on the scheme provider. To search for apprenticeships in this field, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Hours and Income
As a stonemason, you would normally work 39 hours a week. Some overtime may be available when there is a need to meet project deadlines.
The following are the estimated salary levels for stonemasons, according to the National Career Service:
Further Training and Career Development
Your employer could encourage you to take industry-recognised courses to increase your competence and have higher chances of earning promotion. Depending on where you work, you could choose one of the following courses:
- Level 2 Diploma in Craft Masonry
- Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Stonemasonry (Construction)
- Level 2/3 Diploma in Stonemasonry – Banker
After taking programmes your employer recommended and gaining work experience, you could progress supervisory jobs, such as site supervisor and clerk of works. Another possible career choice is to move to a training centre and start teaching stonemasonry.