Minster Stoneyard to be training hub for 'Olympic' stonemasons
Four young stonemasons, hoping to compete in the 2015 WorldSkills International competition – the ‘Olympics’ for skilled trades – are heading to York Minster’s Stoneyard in November as part of a four day training course to hone their skills.
The three hopefuls will join the Minster’s third year apprentice, Sam Turner, for the course in which their skills with a chisel and file will be developed. Only one of the craftspeople will be selected to represent the UK at the WorldSkills event, which will be hosted in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August 2015.
“Hosting this four day training course is a real testament to the quality of the work that takes place here. Our masons are known for being some of the best in the world, so it is fitting that they have been selected to these young competitors through their paces so that they can compete on the world stage,” comments Superintendent of Works for York Minster, Rebecca Thompson.
York Minster’s Stoneyard has hosted training visits from individual competitors in the past, but this is the first time that the masonry team will put all four through their paces. One of them will go on to compete in the Architectural Stonemasonry category, in which they will be tested on a wide range of skills, from drawing and using computer-controlled cutting devices to hand-carving – which is the speciality of the Minster’s Stoneyard.
The involvement of York Minster in the WorldSkills competition goes back many years; Kevin Calpin, who supervises the UK team, trained at the York Minster Stoneyard and now teaches at York College, where his former students included the current Stoneyard Manager, Danny Sampson, and many of the other masons who ply their trade on the cathedral.
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