Press Release – Otago Polytechnic
People considering stonemasonry as a career or interest to follow are urged to register soon for the year long 2012 Otago Polytechnic Certificate in Stonemasonry (Level 4). The course is offered from the Central Otago Campus of the Polytechnic amongst …Press Release from Otago Polytechnic
4 October 2011
Registrations for useful trade qualification now open
People considering stonemasonry as a career or interest to follow are urged to register soon for the year long 2012 Otago Polytechnic Certificate in Stonemasonry (Level 4).
The course is offered from the Central Otago Campus of the Polytechnic amongst some of the most beautiful stone in the country, giving students plenty of opportunity to learn skills through practical experience.
Course Lecturer Steve Holmes says stonemasons are in high demand at the moment and that demand is likely to grow as restoration and rebuilding of Christchurch stonework gets underway.
“There is always work for the graduates of this course but we think demand for qualified people is set to grow significantly. Stonemasonry is a great trade to have and Central Otago, with its fabulous stone and plenty of walls and projects to work on, is a great place to study it.
“This course is very hands on so numbers are quite limited – we can normally only take a maximum of 16 people so we’re letting people know that registrations are open because of the expected demand,” he said.
Stonemasonry students at the Central Otago campus work on a variety of projects including renovating stonework in old Cromwell and learning on the job in work placements during the final term.
Recent projects have included restoration of the old cemetery walls in Clyde and creating a BBQ surround for a Lion’s public project.
“We have great links with local industry and community. These links not only provide opportunities to build practical experience but also allow students to make contacts that help secure good jobs and futures.”
Mr Holmes says there are all sorts of opportunities for his graduates.
“About 60% of our students want to find work with a company as a stonemason following graduation (and they do) while others take the course to follow their own interest or passion or to add to their existing construction or landscaping skills. Some go into self employment – we have a graduate who has created a business niche building and installing pizza ovens and BBQ’s in Nelson. The important thing is that work prospects are really strong and there are many opportunities.”
Mr Holmes learned his own skills in the picturesque Lakes District in north England and teaches a comprehensive approach
“There are lots of aspects to this trade and lots of creativity. We learn to design and construct in dry stone, how to create stone veneers, the details of paving and landscaping for example.”
The course begins in February and is located at the Central Otago campus in Cromwell. Applications should be in by December 20, 2011 at the latest, though Mr Holmes says sooner rather than later is a good idea this year. The course covers a wide range of skills and includes extensive practical and work experience in order to produce specialist stonemasonry professionals with a high level of competence and the ability to work independently. Students are introduced to many traditional and modern stonework styles.