Students carve out Royal route to becoming craftsmen

A YORKSHIRE carpenter and a plasterer have been accepted on a prestigious course run by the Prince of Wales which gives apprentices the chance to work alongside master craftsmen at heritage sites across the country.

Joiner Stephen Jefferson, from Otley, and plasterer Adrian Wintersgill, from Harrogate, are two of just 10 apprentices that have been selected for the Prince of Wales Heritage Scheme’s Building Craft Apprentices Programme.

Their success is being celebrated at Leeds College of Building where both men have learned their trade.

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Mr Jefferson is a former student while Mr Wintersgill who works for by Focus Homes, is studying plastering at the college.

Mr Jefferson said: “My lecturer at college Joe Clancy encouraged me to apply for the course and I’m really looking forward to learning more about some of the traditional skills associated with my trade.

“I have worked as an apprentice joiner for five years now and gained an invaluable amount of on the job training, but this course will take my skills to a whole new level.”

The eight month programme – which is in its fifth year – starts in July with a three-week course at the Prince of Wales’s Residential Summer School in London.

Apprentices will learn about renovation and traditional building skills and how they can incorporate them into their work in the 21st century.

The course includes lectures, workshops, drawing and building exercises and field trips, focused on developing the apprentices’ knowledge. During the first week apprentices will take drawing, geometry and sculpture classes. The second week gives apprentices the opportunity to learn from master craftspeople and the third week sees them take part in a design competition.

After the summer school apprentices take a short course in small business skills followed by a seven-month placement with a master craftspmen who specialises in traditional building and conservation.

Mr Wintersgill said: “This really is a unique opportunity and I feel very lucky to be one of the few chosen to take part.”