Ben Fairgrieve has received an apprenticeship grant to undertake an apprenticeship at St. Mary’s Cathedral Workshop in Scotland. St Mary's Cathedral Workshop was founded in 1987 to restore the Cathedral exterior stonework, and to train young apprentices selected from unemployed 16 year-olds in the Edinburgh area in the specific craft skills required for restoration & conservation work.
Edinburgh with its Old and New Towns is a World Heritage Site. The unique character and sense of place of the city is created by the predominance of stone as a building material, complimented and showcased by the variety of architectural styles in which it has been used through the ages. Edinburgh undoubtedly requires a skilled, well trained work force of stonemasons to maintain it for the future. However the economic downturn has had a marked impact on the structure of the local stonemasonry sector and its capacity to undertake training to maintain its skills base. QEST will provide Ben with a monthly wage in order to learn these skills that are so important to the architectural landscape of Edinburgh.
Ben has joined St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop as an apprentice as Edinburgh College has cancelled the Advanced Stonemasonry course. Ben hopes to continue his career in stonemasonry as far as he can, hoping it will enable him to see a variety of stonemasonry on a global scale.
His long term goal is to eventually start his own business and build new stone houses and help maintain the conservation and restoration of existing heritage stone buildings.