It is with profound regret that we announce that the Board of St Mary’s Workshop has decided that from Monday 18th March 2019 the Workshop will cease trading, and shortly close.
The Workshop was founded more than 30 years ago to train stonemasons and renovate the stonework of St Mary’s Cathedral. For 25 years, it received substantial funding from Historic Environment Scotland and others to complete those tasks, taking on a couple of apprentices every year as work on the Cathedral continued. In recent years the Workshop received further funding to complete the renovation of the Cathedral, but also to develop a different model of training stonemasons, which, we hoped, would allow the Workshop to prosper and continue its core task of training apprentices.
This Shared Apprenticeship model, formed in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland, meant that apprentices worked not just on the Cathedral but on placements across the industry. The income from those placements, together with support from CITB, HES and other funders, would cover the costs of training and running the Workshop.
However, we have been unable to secure the funding required to make the model sustainable. The Board developed several alternative potential models for the scheme but could not identify one that was sustainable in the long-term without additional funding.
The Board was left with no alternative but to declare the Workshop no longer a going concern and begin to wind it up. We are making active efforts to place our 12 apprentices with other employers.
The Board would like to thank all the employees of the Workshop over the years for their hard work and efforts. Not least our current Trainers, Jordan Kirk and Max Scott, and our Administrator, Maggie Tennant, who have worked tirelessly to try and find a future for the Workshop and to continue to produce the highly skilled stonemasons that our historic buildings need. It is a matter of deep regret and sadness that that has proved impossible.
John Conway – Managing Director
John McKinney – Chair