It came as a very happy coincidence that after only two days into my two year Stone Masonry course at The City of Bath College, Gloucester Cathedral should open up their Stone Masonry workshop to the general public. I’m lucky enough to live only a few miles away from the cathedral. I was able to wander around quite freely, observing the masons at work and watch as Pascal Mychalysin – Gloucester Cathedral’s master mason – drawing up plans to reconstruct a wall in the cathedral grounds that had been damaged through years of erosion.
Pascal was very approachable and was happy to answer the questions I posed to him, many of which centred on Gloucester Cathedral’s apprenticeship scheme (unfortunately, the Cathedral isn’t currently recruiting). However, he was confident that I wouldn’t find much difficulty in finding an apprenticeship in the surrounding areas of Stroud or the Cotswolds. However, he told me that these companies do prefer their apprentices to have a basic level of skill, and calculated that based on two days of study per week that I was engaged in, I should become attractive to prospective employers in about a year’s time. I didn’t mention that I was 27 and would have to be classed as a mature apprentice – if indeed there is such a (government-recognised) scheme, and how that would affect terms of pay. However, any employer who is looking for an apprentice cannot dismiss a man (or woman) with his (or her) own tools, a certain level of skill and a willingness to learn – qualities that transcend something as inconsequential – in this instance, at least – as age. That’s my theory, anyway.
In the meantime, here are a few pictures from inside Gloucester Cathedral’s Masonry workshop that I took while I was there, which should get the juices flowing. However, do not expect anything as intricate from me; I am blogging as an absolute beginner as my lessons in stone only began two days ago! Expect all things rough and rudimentary in the beginning.
I plan to write about myself and the first two days of my Stone Masonry course during the early part of next week.