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A dying trade or a niche opportunity? Become a Thatcher teacher

At the forefront of preserving heritage buildings for generations to come, thatching is an extremely important job that is carried out by a small number of dedicated artisans across the country. Being on a roof for eight to 10 hours a day, completely at the mercy of the elements, certainly isn’t right for everyone. But those people who do it and are passionate about it, often passed down through the generations, have a very different opinion. For them it is much more than just an occupation, and the work they do lives on as a reminder that some things are really worth keeping.

As one would expect from a specialist industry such as this, thatching work tends to be most available in places where old buildings and heritage have played a significant role in the history of the area. Similarly, because the nature of thatching is a somewhat haphazard affair only needed once every hundred years or so, the work tends to be done by companies that also do carpentry and other associated practical tasks.

Thatching is an interesting and fascinating skill to learn, but naturally, and as with any occupation, there are downsides. One is that roofers have little or no protection from the elements and are often forced to work in conditions that are sometimes less than satisfactory, such as standing on top of a building exposed to high winds and strong rains. On top of this, there are endless chips and blisters to deal with, and it takes some stamina to take on a full day’s work and all it can throw at you.

Still, those who wish to pursue thatching as a career learn to love their work and take full advantage of the many and varied benefits: namely, the satisfaction of knowing that their work will keep the roof of a listed building alive for many years to come. More years. . And there is much more to this job than simply putting the reeds on the roof: before this can be done, they need to be cut (in January and February), cleaned with a pitchfork, and braided into individual bundles, before being hoisted for use on the roof. soil.

So what makes a good thatcher? Well, you should enjoy working with your hands and have a genuine interest in being a time honored craftsman. Manual dexterity, the ability to work efficiently, the ability to work at heights, and a love of the outdoors would also be beneficial.

So where to start if you choose this? Well firstly (most companies are based in the UK) you would like to find out who does thatching in your area and ask if there are any vacancies as an apprentice. Typically, apprentices are hired at a young age, and an employer would favor candidates with carpentry skills. Don’t expect to find jobs posted online or in the newspapers – thatching is a closed community, and those who manage to become an apprentice generally possess the ability to motivate themselves and are quite capable of thinking for themselves. There are also some courses available in the UK, although these are few and far between.

As an apprentice, you’ll need to prove yourself by doing a lot of manual labor, such as hauling materials and cleaning, before you get a chance to learn the trade. As for what happens next, that’s entirely up to you. After doing an apprenticeship, many Thatchers choose to open their own business, which can be very lucrative; equally, however, one can be successful working for one of the few established companies, ultimately leading to a high-level position.

The last thing to remember about thatching is that it is an occupation where love is preferred over money, which means many choose thatching as a lifestyle rather than a way to make a quick buck. If you really want to find an interesting career in this traditional niche industry, contact the National Society of Thatchers Teachers to find companies in your area.

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