What does a stonemason do?
Stonemasons would normally work as either a banker mason in a workshop, or a fixer mason on site. The skills needed for each overlap, but the focus of the job would be slightly different:
- Banker masons follow design instructions to carve and shape stone, and give it a textured or polished finish (known as dressing), using hand and power tools.
- Fixer masons build stone walls or fit cladding, using mortar and specialist fixings. They might also repair damaged stonework.
In either specialism, stonemasons could work on a range of projects, such as:
- repairing old buildings and monuments
- carving or repairing statues or memorial headstones
- making and fitting stonework, such as window frames, archways and ornamental garden pieces
Due to the variety of the job, stonemasons would work with a number of different materials, including sandstone, limestone, slate, marble and granite.
What do I need to do to become a stonemason?
There aren't any set entry requirements to get into this job. However, many employers would expect you to have some experience on a construction site. If you have not worked in construction before, you could look for work as a labourer to gain work experience. Once working, your employer may be willing to offer you training in stonemasonry. You may also be able to get into this career by completing an apprenticeship with a building or stonemasonry firm.
Another option is to take a college course, which would teach you some of the skills needed for the job and may help in finding work on a site. Courses include:
- Level 1 Award in Stone Masonry Operations
- Level 1 Certificate in Construction and Building
- Level 1 Diploma in Preparation for Employment in the Construction Industries
You may need a driving licence, particularly as a fixer mason, as you will need to travel from job to job.
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
As a banker mason, you would usually be based in a workshop, which could get noisy and dusty. You would use protective equipment, such as safety boots, ear defenders and goggles.
As a fixer mason, you would be outdoors in all weather conditions on building sites, sometimes working at heights on scaffolding.
In both cases, the work can be physically demanding as you would be lifting and carrying heavy materials and equipment.