Thatchers install, repair and replace thatched roofs. It is an extremely skilled profession, involving tying reed, grass or straw together in bundles to form a roof.
The work involves:
The work often involves early starts, late finishes and weekend work during the summer months. Working hours are shorter in the winter, due to the lack of daylight. The work may involve staying away from home.
Thatchers work outdoors in all weather and mostly at height, leaning in awkward positions. Thatching is hard, dirty work and is very tough on the hands. Masks may be worn to protect from the dust, seeds and spores found in the thatch. The job may not be suitable for those who suffer from respiratory problems.
Salaries may range from £14,000 to over £35,000 a year.
Self-employed thatchers set their own rates.
There are around 500 thatching businesses in the UK; the majority are located from the Midlands down to the south coast. The industry has recently experienced a revival.
Most thatchers are self-employed, perhaps employing one other person, often on a casual basis. The best way to enter the industry is to contact established thatchers to see if they are taking on trainees.
There are no set academic entry requirements to begin training.
The Diploma in construction and the built environment is available is some schools and colleges, and may be relevant for this type of work. GCSE's in English, maths and ICT may prove useful for running a small business.
Herefordshire College of Technology offers a funded course in thatching as part of its New Entrants Training Scheme (NETS). To join individuals must:
Be aged between 16 and 25 (though older applicants may be considered if there are places available).
Have recently started work with a firm in a rural area of England (with a population of less than 10,000).
The scheme involves fourteen weeks of training delivered over two years, leading to an NVQ Level 2 in roofing occupations (thatching). There is an option to progress to Level 3.
Short courses may also be available to improve the skills of experienced thatchers.
Thatchers need to be:
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
There may be some opportunities for qualified thatchers to work on contracts overseas.
Herefordshire & Ludlow College, Folly Lane, Hereford HR1 1LS
Tel: 0800 032 1986
The National Heritage Training Group,
Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street,
London EC1M 6EZ
Tel: 0300 456 5517
National Society of Master Thatchers,
13 Parkers Hill, Tetsworth, Thame,
Oxfordshire OX9 7AQ
Tel: 01844 281208
Thatching Information Service,
Thatcher's Rest, Levens Green,
Old Hall Green, Ware,
Hertfordshire SG11 1HD
Tel: 01920 438710
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.