What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
Harper & Allan Masonry
What is your job title?
Director / Stonemason
Provide a brief description of your business.
Traditional Building Repair Specialists
Describe your career pathway after leaving school.
I left school at fifteen and went into a full-time course at Moray college where a little bit of each trade was taught. On my sixteenth birthday, I got an apprenticeship as a stonemason and worked at Moray Stone Cutters for four and a half years. Then moved to Laing Traditional masonry for thirteen years where I started repairing old buildings, completed my apprenticeship, and then progressed from Mason, Team Leader, Project Leader, Site Manager then Contracts Manager. In 2015 I left and set up my business with Steven Harper (Harper and Allan Masonry Ltd) and currently employ seven tradesmen and five apprentices.
Have you ever been an apprentice? If yes, please explain what this was, what this involved and why would you encourage others to undertake an apprenticeship.
Yes, I undertook a four-year apprenticeship. This was block release at Elgin Training Unit (Historic Scotland Yard behind the Cathedral) which essentially gave me a starting point in the industry and I have progressed from there. Hard work to begin with but worth the effort long term.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
When I was at school they were called Craft & Design, Graphic Communication and Maths but they have likely changed the names now. Essentially working with my hands and also able to draw/sketch while being able to take measurements and produce estimates for my clients.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
Walking away from a project just completed with the pride of a project looking good and happy client. A lot of projects we work on are historic properties like castles etc which are hundreds of years old so the work we do will help these buildings survive for another hundred years.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
I actually wanted to be a joiner when I was at school but I really enjoy stonemasonry although there is a lot of heavy lifting!!
Did you ever want to pursue another career?
When I was at school yes, but not anymore.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
Leaving home around seven am to get to the site for eight am. Could be building in new stonework or creating new doorways, cutting new stone, cutting out, and pointing. There is a huge range of work that's required to repair old buildings so just whatever the project requires.
What skills are required to do your job?
Hard work, Organisation, Teaching / Mentoring, Maths.
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
Don't be afraid of the hard work as its very rewarding in the long term.
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!