One of the UK’s most beautiful cathedrals has secured a grant of £9,000 by the Friends of the Cotswolds to support stonemasonry training, helping to create a new generation of craftspeople able to care for our heritage in the 21st century.
The award will benefit apprentice Gloucester Cathedral stonemason, Martin Gwilliams during his two-year training programme through the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). Martin’s training will culminate in a Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair awarded by University of Gloucestershire.
Martin said:“The Apprenticeship and the Foundation degree are golden opportunities for me to develop my skills and knowledge. The generous gift from the Friends of the Cotswolds combined with the chance to study via their Enterprise Course will put me in a great position to consider starting my own business in the future.”
Gloucester Cathedral’s Conservation Stonemasonry workshop has an international reputation as one of the finest in in Europe with over 50 stonemasons trained there by Master Mason, Pascal Mychalysin, and his team over the past 30 years.
Frances Cambrook, Executive Director of the CWF said: “Gloucester is one of nine Anglican cathedrals who have been working together since 2006 to deliver a Foundation degree for their stonemasons and other crafts people. Martin learns directly from the Master Masons and other experts from all over the country, ensuring that he develops a deep understanding of repair and conservation techniques that will prepare him for his future career. The Friends of the Cotswolds’ generous award recognises the importance of securing these craft skills for the future.”
Master Mason Pascal said: “In a rapidly changing world traditional skills and knowledge have many cards to play to offer new concepts of traditional craft to modern clients. For example, a natural product like stone has many new possibilities of application emerging from its unparalleled carbon neutral status, to name just one.
“This illustrates why it is essential that craftspeople have a good understanding of the best economic tools and mechanisms to offer their services to an expanding customer base. We are very grateful to the Friends of the Cotswolds for providing this opportunity for our trainee Martin to achieve this aim.”
Chair of the Friends of the Cotswolds, Simon Randall CBE said: “We are very pleased to be able to sponsor an apprentice stonemason particularly as he is working on renovating Gloucester Cathedral. Our Cotswold Crafts Apprenticeship Scheme is designed to support apprentices in the area both to obtain craft skills but also essential business skills. We are also supporting two apprentice saddlers and are currently in discussion with employers in hedge-laying, bee farming and blacksmithing.”