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- Use traditional craft skills, materials and tools to replace and repair thatched roofs
- You'll need a good level of fitness
- With experience you can become self-employed
Thatchers are highly skilled roofers who use traditional techniques and materials. Thatched roofs are more common in certain parts of the country so there are likely to be more opportunities in these areas.
- 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 (battens)
- Using tarred cord or metal hooks
- Using a range of thatching craft tools, like shearing hooks, needles, eave-knives and mallets
You might also grow and harvest your own thatching materials.
Many thatchers are self-employed, but some will employ workers and apprentices. Your hours will depend on the availability of work, but could include early starts, late finishes and weekends, especially during the summer months.
You'll be outdoors in most weather conditions, working at height. The job is physically demanding and can get dusty, and you may need a driving licence to get from job to job.
There are no set entry requirements to start learning thatching skills, but experience in related jobs like roofing or reed cutting may be useful. You'll also need excellent practical skills, number skills, and communication skills.
You may be able to do an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing occupations.
You could start by looking for work as a trainee thatcher, an apprentice thatcher, or thatcher's labourer. Once you're working, your employer may train you to qualify as a thatcher.
Employers may ask for some GCSEs, but your enthusiasm and your practical skills will be as important as qualifications.
You'll also need a good level of fitness and an enthusiasm for traditional building crafts.
To get started you could contact individual thatchers or thatching companies to see if they have any opportunities.
Or 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.
With experience you could set up your own business and take on other thatchers.