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  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is using a mallet and a chisel on a block of stone.

    Using a mallet and chisel to delicately shape a piece of masonry.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is measuring a large block of stone.

    Measuring up a slab before cutting.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is pressing buttons on a control panel.

    Cutting a block of stone to shape with a circular saw.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is using an electric chisel on a block of stone.

    Working a piece of stone with an electric chisel.

  • A man is kneeling on the floor of a workshop.  He is fitting stone blocks together, to form an ornamental arch.

    Piecing together finished components for a church window.

  • A man is holding an intricately carved stone.

    Stonemasons may produce intricate building details as well as purely functional stonework.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is sharpening a chisel, using a sharpening machine.

    Sharpening a chisel on a grinding machine.

  • A man, wearing a boiler suit, protective goggles and a mouth mask, is standing in a workshop.  He is drawing on a block of stone, with a pencil.

    Accurately marking up a piece of masonry using a set square and pencil.

  • Stonemason

Stonemason

Introduction

Stonemasons cut and shape stone using hand and power tools. Work may take place in stone yards or on-site. Some stonemasons specialise in stone carving.

Also known as

  • Mason, Stone

Video: - Adele: Stonemason

Video: - Andy: Stonemason

Work Activities

As a Stonemason, you will create shapes from blocks of stone, and fix it to buildings. Some specialise in working with different materials such as granite or marble.

There are two kinds of Stonemason: Banker Masons and Fixer Masons.

Banker Masons are mainly based in workshops or stone yards. You cut and prepare stone from the quarry for use. You first mark an outline on the block of stone, then carefully cut and smooth it into shape, using hand and power tools such as mallets, chisels and drills. You can make complex patterns and produce a variety of finishes.

In some stone yards, Banker Masons use cutting machines. These cut blocks of stone following a set pattern. The machines can be programmed to work on their own, leaving you free to do the skilled cutting or carving.

Some Banker Masons learn to carve stone and may specialise in this type of work. Some specialise in restoring old carved stonework. In this work, you make tracings of damaged stonework and transfer them onto paper in the workshop. You make patterns from the drawings and use them to cut around. You either carve the complete piece by hand or use a machine.

Fixer Masons assemble the finished stone on-site, following the Architect's drawings and attach the stone to the building. You lift the heaviest pieces carefully into place using ropes and pulleys.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Stonemason, you will need:

  • good practical skills
  • to be able to work patiently and carefully
  • the ability to follow instructions accurately
  • to be physically fit, as some of the work is heavy, particularly for Fixer Masons lifting large finished pieces
  • an eye for design
  • good basic maths skills
  • a head for heights, as Fixer Masons may have to work up ladders or on scaffolding
  • an awareness of the importance of health and safety in this industry

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £21,500 - £23,500
  • With experience: £24,000 - £25,500
  • Senior Stonemasons earn £27,000 - £28,000

Hours of work

Stonemasons work 39 hours a week. Overtime, including Saturday working, may be available.

Where could I work?

Employers are specialist contractors, monumental masons and building contractors.

Opportunities for Stonemasons occur with contractors in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced Stonemasons to work independently as self-employed contractors.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Some people go into this career from a construction Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card

Training

If you would like some training, City & Guilds offer a level 3 qualification in stonemasonry. This course has a range of units, which include:

  • health, safety and welfare in construction
  • principles of organising, planning and pricing construction work
  • setting out and templet making for complex stonemasonry components
  • working complex stonemasonry components
  • conservation and restoration techniques for architectural heritage

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working as a Building Operative would be really useful for this career.

Progression

In the construction industry, it is possible to work up from craft-level positions to managerial roles, such as Construction Site Manager.

Qualifications

Entry requirements vary. You do not always need educational qualifications to enter this type of work.

A BTEC or City & Guilds qualification in a relevant subject could help you to stand out from the crowd. Subjects include 'construction and the built environment'.

For Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, you may have to sit an aptitude test involving maths, and problem solving. You might also have to sit a literacy test.

To start an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

However, individual centres may have different entry requirements. You may be able to get on to one of the courses without any qualifications.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Related skills, for example, gained while a building operative, are useful.

Courses

Some people go into this career via a Construction Specialist Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

It's also possible to get into this career through one of City & Guilds courses in stonemasonry.

Statistics

  • 54% of people in occupations such as stonemason work on a self-employed basis.
  • 6% work part-time.
  • 6% have flexible hours.
  • 3% work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171

Email: rayrobertson@nhtgskills.org

Website: www.nhtg.org.uk

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Crichton House, 4 Crichtons Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Tel: 0131 5568866

Email: registrar@sbatc.co.uk

Website: www.sbatc.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Stone Federation Great Britain

Address: Channel Business Centre, Ingles Manor, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2RD

Tel: 01303 856123

Email: enquiries@stonefed.org.uk

Website: www.stonefed.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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