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Gloucestershire Business News

Apprentice awarded £9,000 to help carve career

Gloucester Cathedral has received a grant of £9,000 from Friends of the Cotswolds to support stonemasonry training at the historic building.

The award will help apprentice stonemason Martin Gwilliams during his two-year training programme through the Cathedrals' Workshop Fellowship, leading to a foundation degree in applied historic building conservation and repair awarded by University of Gloucestershire.

Mr Gwilliams said: "The apprenticeship and the foundation degree are golden opportunities for me to develop my skills and knowledge.

"The generous gift from the Friends of the Cotswolds combined with the chance to study via their enterprise course will put me in a great position to consider starting my own business in the future."

Gloucester Cathedral's Conservation Stonemasonry workshop has an international reputation as one of the finest in in Europe with more than 50 stonemasons trained by Master Mason Pascal Mychalysin and his team in the past 30 years.

Mr Mychalysin said: "In a rapidly changing world, traditional skills and knowledge have many cards to play to offer new concepts of traditional craft to modern clients.

"A natural product like stone has many new possibilities of application emerging from its unparalleled carbon neutral status, to name just one.

"This illustrates why it is essential craftspeople have a good understanding of the best economic tools and mechanisms to offer their services to an expanding customer base."

Simon Randall, who chairs Friends of the Cotswolds, said they were particularly pleased to sponsor and apprentice working on the Cathedral.

He said: "Our Cotswold Crafts Apprenticeship Scheme is designed to support apprentices in the area both to obtain craft skills but also essential business skills.

"We are also supporting two apprentice saddlers and are currently in discussion with employers in hedge-laying, bee farming and blacksmithing."

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