Arthur Parsons is a Level 2 stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College working with the family firm S M Parsons Ltd. The firm, run by Arthur’s dad Steve, specialises in stone restoration projects and stone cleaning. Stonemasonry runs in the family, as Arthur’s brother also works for the company and used to study at Bath College.
Can you tell us why you signed up for an apprenticeship?
My dad encouraged me to start a career in stonemasonry. I spent a couple days out of school with him and really enjoyed the work, so I decided to enrol at college. I went straight into an apprenticeship from school, I was 16 at the time. I was one of the only ones at school going off to do an apprenticeship, but it’s something that I would recommend. It’s enjoyable and if you have an interest in something, you should follow that.
What do you do in your job as a stonemasonry apprentice?
I work with my dad, my brother and one other person. There’s four of us and we all get on well. We’re based in Bristol and we do a lot of restoration work on old houses. We can be working on the interior or the front of the house taking off the paint and cleaning so that we reach the old stone behind. I like doing the cleaning jobs because it’s interesting to see what’s underneath and what it looks like afterwards. Sometimes it’s quite a surprise.
What do you enjoy about working and what does a typical day look like?
I study two days at college and work three days a week. I’m on the second year of my apprenticeship, so I’ll be qualified by the end of the year, but you can continue onto another qualification. The type of work depends on the type of job; at the moment we’re fitting a fireplace. We cut the stones in the workshop and then fit it together onsite. I enjoy the practical side of things, working on a specific job and being able to get on with it.
Bath College’s new Somer Construction Centre
How are you finding your time at Bath College and what are you learning?
In my first year at college, I started with learning how to make a rough block smooth. We also learnt how to create a chamfer, an ashlar stop and how to work on different types of stone. It’s useful to learn the theory in college because it backs up what you’re learning on the job. I get on well with the people in college, they’re a nice team and I’ve enjoyed moving into the Somer Construction Centre. The facilities are better and we’ve got more room to work in.
Do you think your apprenticeship has helped you in your career?
I feel as though I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve started to know what I need to complete a job and what time I can do it by. It’s good to see that’s I’ve improved. I want to continue working with my dad long-term or maybe running my own business. My dad has said I’m doing well and he’s happy with what I’m learning here.