It’s National Apprenticeship Week! Apprenticeships are an excellent way to launch your career in any industry.

10 February, 2023

As the end of the week nears, we are happy to be showcasing the knowledge and development that our heritage apprenticeship programme has to offer.

At USL, we are incredibly proud of all our apprentices over the years.  We believe it is vital to pass on skills to the next generation and ensure that trained passionate individuals are skilled to continue to conserve and preserve our built environment.

Our apprentices make impacts for years to come working through on heritage projects. From gaining practical and relevant work experience to boosting career prospects, apprenticeships can offer a way for people to gain Skills For Life.

We are pleased to share some personal insights from our apprentice Luke and our specialist stone mentor Chris about their own journeys and experiences, we will be sharing why apprenticeships provide the Skills For Life.


“It is a privilege to be in a position to inspire and share over 40 years’ experience in the stone industry with young trainees, and with the fabulous stock of historic buildings in our region, we have some of the best classrooms in the country”

Q&A with Luke:


Why you decided to join USL and take up an apprenticeship?

I’ve been looking for an apprenticeship for a while and was interested in hands-on work.  When I discovered USL,  I have never done stonemasonry before and had very little to no knowledge about it.  I thought this could be an amazing, rewarding and unique apprenticeship that doesn’t come around often.  They also give excellent hands-on experience and brilliant learning opportunities you won’t get from a regular full-time college course.

What do you like about stone masonry and working on heritage project?

I like how I can turn a stone piece into something that looks amazing and complex. I find it satisfying that my stone pieces will be incorporated into buildings that are symbols of the local communities.  This valuable work helps to keep heritage buildings standing, so they may be enjoyed by new generations.

Your favourite day so far?

I`m very fortunate to be able to be a part of both the making of the stone and installation of stone onsite.  A recent day I enjoyed would probably be when I was a Copped Hall Manor, it was my first time onsite as an apprentice stonemason and it provided me with the opportunity to see how this heritage work impacts and preserves buildings.  I’ve also enjoyed my time at St Peter’s Cultural Venue in Sudbury, a wonderful regeneration project to bring new life to the facility, which will become a community venue.

Any tips or words of advice for a young person considering taking up an apprenticeship?

My tip would be – there is aways time to try new things, opportunities, and jobs.  Take the time to pick an option that works for you.  There are many exciting apprenticeship schemes out there with unique career paths.

USL is committed to developing and sustaining heritage skills, making us an ideal partner for on-the-job learning, mentoring and acquiring skills for life.  Our apprentices work on diverse projects, with highly skilled mentors, gaining technical knowledge and employability skills.

USL works in partnership with Building Craft College - London.

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