Thatcher

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Thatchers use traditional craft skills, materials and tools to replace and repair thatched roofs.

Salary Range: £13,000 to £26,000

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How to become a thatcher

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • doing specialist courses run by training organisations
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Apprenticeship

You may be able to do an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing occupations.

This will usually take 18 months to complete and could help you to get a trainee job with a thatching company. You would then do further training in thatching methods with your employer.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

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Work

You could start by looking for work as a trainee thatcher or thatcher’s labourer. Once you’re working, your employer may train you to qualify as a thatcher.

Direct application

You may be able to apply directly to thatching companies if you’ve got experience in related work like roofing or reed cutting.

Your enthusiasm and practical skills will be as important as qualifications.

Other routes

You could do a specialist training course if you’re interested in heritage and conservation skills like thatching. The Prince’s Foundation also runs courses in building crafts, including thatching.

These courses may help you to get a trainee job as a thatcher.

More information

Career tips

You may need to relocate to an area where thatching skills are in demand.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the National Society of Master Thatchers to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about thatching from the National Society of Master Thatchers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height
  • have a good level of fitness
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • putting up scaffolding or securing ladders to buildings
  • stripping off old roofs
  • checking roof timbers for damage or rot
  • repairing, treating or replacing timbers
  • preparing materials, like straw, wheat reed or water reed into bundles ready for use
  • securing bundles of thatch to roof timbers using tarred cord or metal hooks
  • growing and harvesting your own thatching materials

Working environment

You could work at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height, physically demanding and dusty.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

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Career path and progression

You could set up your own business and take on other thatchers.