Stonemasonry students at work at Weymouth College.
Weymouth College has an enviable reputation for training stonemasons, developing skills and delivering knowledge relating to stone and working it, the broader construction and heritage industries and related disciplines. You can find at why at the Natural Stone Show at ExCeL in London from 30 April to 2 May.
The College Stone Masonry Department attracts some of the best students from industry and those who want to persue a career in stone. They are dedicated, keen, focused and hardworking. As a result, the College has two students participating in the prestigious Skill Build heats and World Skills Stonemasonry championships, both gaining entry into the Finals.
Stonemasonry has been a part of the Construction Sector of Weymouth College since the 1940s. Historically, it was taught in the stone yards and quarries of the island of Portland, where the stone that built London comes from.
The Weymouth College Stonemasonry Unit has supplied renown, engaging individuals throughout the breadth of England... and even further afield.
Students are often drawn to the Stonemasonry Department because they are following a family tradition. Generations of stonemasons trained at Weymouth College and they often want their sons and daughters to follow them into the College to learn the skills that are embedded in the craft styles and methods of this area. Or the tradition is followed through a relationship between this Department and one of the Cathedrals.
There are many who simply touched stone for the first time and instantly developed a natural affinity for the material and discipline.
All the College's lecturers are strongly affiliated to the Portland style as well as having gained experience from working further afield, as is true for many masons. The Department continually strives to be a centre of vocational excellence, aiming to propel each student towards a prospective future.
Students continue to achieve College Diplomas in Stonemasonry and NVQs and Apprenticeships, either through Weymouth College itself or via CITB.
When there is demand and funding the College also continually tries to facilitate extra-curricular courses. Master Classes, Evening Classes and Industry Lead Classes are provided by the Dorset Centre for the Creative Arts (DCCA) in the same courtyard as the stonemasonry workshops in Poundbury, Dorchester.
Currently the College is running Master Classes in lettercutting and Evening Classes in Calligraphy and Carving and is preparing a course on using abrasive wheels. Last year it was able to provide courses in clay modelling and clay casting - essential for making maquettes before starting to carve in stone, especially when a proposal has to be approved.
The Weymouth repertory also includes Industry leading courses in the use of lime mortars, including hot lime, that are so important for stone facades.