How to Become a Professional Stonemason
Many people think that this age-old trade has come and gone with the centuries. However, you’ll be surprised to find that the demand for skilled stone masons still remains high, and is even set to rise with the current boom in the Australian construction industry. Let’s take a look at how you can kick start your career in stonemasonry.
What are a Stonemason’s Key Responsibilities?
As a stonemason, you’ll be responsible for the construction of floors, fences, walls and exterior surfaces – anything that involves the cutting and manipulation of stone. Moreover, you’ll have to work with a range of challenging materials, like marble, granite, limestone and man-made stone. It’s the kind of work that requires strong hands and endurance, but with a bit of a creative streak.
Many stonemasons are sought out for the carving and sculpting of significant monuments. They also play important role in the restoration of old buildings. Here, many stonemasons specialize in the creation of specific architectural features, like stone facades, cornices and terrazzi. The field of stonemasonry is never static. It constantly shifts with new innovations and technologies in the cutting and forming of materials.
Education and Training
If you’re interested in a career in stonemasonry, you can go straight into a paid apprenticeship with a reputable construction company. Here, you’ll receive on-the-job training and a wage. An apprenticeship will throw you right into the action of stonemasonry, and teach you how to work as part of a construction team. You will also discover how to liaise with clients and other work personnel. Apprenticeships usually take up to three years to complete.
If you want to get a head start on the competition, it’s also possible to complete a pre-apprenticeship course at a technical college. A Certificate I in Construction will show you all of the basics of stone cutting and shaping technology. This course consists of a semester of full-time study. A Certificate III in Stonemasonry, on the other hand, is a longer course for those interested in the practical and theoretical components of this timeless trade. It also gives learners the chance to apply their theoretical knowledge to full-size projects.
Can Anyone Be a Stonemason?
Stonemasonry environments are often noisy and dusty, so if you don’t mind a little dirt and racket, you’ll feel right at home. It also goes without saying that you should enjoy practical work with your hands. Be prepared for work that is sometimes strenuous. You should be fit and strong enough to spend the day lifting and manipulating heavy objects without taking too much strain. Note that some stonemasonry work takes place at heights.
Despite these practical advantages, it also doesn’t hurt to have a creative streak. A successful stonemason has a keen eye for detail and is naturally adept at composition and design. Often, you’ll be required to produce and follow technical drawings for your projects, so it helps to have a basic natural ability for drawing and sketching.
If you’re passionate about building something that is both functional and beautiful, why not go for a career in stonemasonry? The demand for talented workers is strong, and with the right experience, you can even start your own business.