How To Become A Thatcher
Thatchers use centuries-old craft skills to install and repair traditional thatched roofs on cottages, houses and other period properties. Often working with old-fashioned wooden tools, a thatcher will use natural materials including straw and reeds to preserve buildings, many of which will be hundreds of years old. Thatchers often work on protected buildings and will need to understand the rules and regulations relating to conservation. For this job you need to be physically fit, have excellent practical skills and be prepared to work outside in all weathers. It goes without saying that you’ll also need a good head for heights!
You do not need specific qualifications to become a thatcher although it will help to have GCSEs in English and maths (Level 2) as well as practical training in one of the building trades, especially roofing.
The best route into the job is to work as a trainee or apprentice alongside an experienced thatcher who is willing to take the time to train you properly. Whilst working with an experienced thatcher you could take a Level 3 Diploma (NVQ) in Heritage Skills which will demonstrate your competence against set national standards. On average, you should expect to undertake four years of training before you are competent to thatch a property on your own.
Average Working Hours Per Week = 40+
Common Working Pattern
Time Taken To Qualify
What Next/Career Development
With experience you could apply to the National Society of MasterThatchers (NSMT) which runs a membership scheme that includes peer review to ensure you have reached the right level of competency. Membership of NSMT can help you develop your career and would also be a good stepping stone to taking on a trainee or apprentice yourself, passing on your skills to the next generation.
Facts And Figures
England has more thatched roofs than any other country in Europe (30,000).*
Thatched roofs were banned in London after the great fire in 1666.*
A thatched roof made from water reeds can last up to 50 years.**
**Source: Thatching Advisory Services.