Masonry Team Leader
The Co-operative Funeralcare

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Derek J

00:00:03 Right, my name’s Derek J and I’m the Masonry Team Leader in Glasgow. Yeah, what we do, we’ve got a team who basically cover the whole spectrum of jobs which is in the masonry industry. There’s lots of trades in the masonry trade. There’s polishers, letter cutters, designers, masons and we do the whole business from raw granite to placing the headstones in cemeteries. My particular role is to run the team that does that.

00:00:33 When I grew up in Glasgow, many moons ago, I would say I knew I wasn’t the brightest kid, so I wasn’t going to go to university or higher education so it was to get a trade. Same with my brothers, my two brothers have both time served electricians and my mum always instilled in us get a job, get a trade and then you’ve got something behind you, you can do what you want after that sort of thing.

00:00:56 I originally wanted to be a joiner, so I actually started sending away application forms to become an apprentice joiner and never got anything back, so I had no luck there and decided to start back fifth year. So I had actually started back fifth year maybe a couple of weeks and the careers office had called me and said there’s an opportunity that came along for a monumental mason, are you interested? And I said yes. Went to see the factory on the Friday and I was on a train to Bath on the Sunday to go to college for a job that I’d never actually done a day’s work in.

00:01:33 So that was quite scary. I was only 16-17. I’ve been in my job for over 20 years, which I think, you know, speaks for itself. It’s like any job, you’ve got highs and lows but my job at the minute I’m happy doing it. I don’t dread going to work. I quite enjoy it.

00:01:50 Basically what happened for me to get to this position was I completed the YTS, did my apprenticeship, which as you’re doing that, you learn all aspects of the trade which is letters cutting, designing, masoning, sawing, the different materials, granite, marble, York stone and then once you become a tradesman, you then get put into your full time job and my full time job was the designing of motifs to go onto the memorials, and I did that quite happily for – phew – 10-12 years, something like that.

00:02:26 And then started to get a little bit kind of fed up with it and wanted something else, but it took that amount of time for it to kind of come onto me. Decided I was getting itchy feet and approached my managers and said, ‘I’m not happy, I want to move up’, and it just so happened at the time, a position became available and it was between me and another guy, and I got the job and I’ve never regretted it since.

00:02:53 Two things that have impacted big in my life I would say was meeting my wife, that was a big thing for me and then when we had a baby, that was the second one I would say. My wife is a big inspiration I would say to me. She is completely opposite to me. She’s very clever, very driven, very career-minded. She’s got a degree and a PhD and she’s now a manager with a drug company and goes to America on a regular basis and things like that. So she’s kind of pushed me quite a lot.

00:03:26 I love playing golf so I try to play every Saturday morning. My baby’s only two so we try and get a babysitter, we try and make time to go out into town, go for a meal and then have a wee bit of ‘us time’ and then obviously try and catch up with the boys now and again. So I like just to go out and have fun and not take life too seriously.

00:03:45 If this job no longer existed in an ideal world, I think it’d be quite interesting to be an architect. I think that’d be an interesting field to get into. I think it covers a lot of areas and different things, so I think that would be quite interesting.

Derek J is the Masonry Team Leader at The Co-operative Funeralcare factory in Glasgow. He got an apprenticeship as a monumental mason when he was sixteen – “Went to see the factory on the Friday and I was on a train to Bath on the Sunday to go to college for a job that I’d never actually done a day’s work in. So that was quite scary.”

More information about Other skilled trades n.e.c.

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

68%  male 
32%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Workers in this unit group engrave jewellery and stoneware, make artificial hairpieces, charge fireworks and munitions with explosive material, make lampshades, wickerwork, toys, dolls, models, candles, artificial flowers, other fancy goods, make patterns for moulds for metal castings, make and tune musical instruments, craft precious metals and stones, and perform other hand craft occupations not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 544: Other Skilled Trades.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is typically via apprenticeship or through specialised courses. NVQs/SVQs are available in some areas.
  • Uses hand or machine tools to engrave letters, patterns and other designs on jewellery and stoneware;
  • Constructs and covers wire frames for lampshades;
  • Makes wigs, beards and other artificial hairpieces from human hair or synthetic materials;
  • Interweaves canes of willow, withy, bamboo, rattan or similar material to make baskets and other pieces of wickerwork;
  • Charges fireworks, cartridges and other munitions with explosive material;
  • Makes childrens toys, dolls, models, candles, artificial flowers and other fancy goods;
  • Makes, maintains and adapts surgical and orthopaedic appliances;
  • Makes patterns for moulds, fits metal castings, pours plaster, fills plaster mould with resin and smoothes surface;
  • Makes musical instruments, makes and assembles parts for musical instruments, and tunes to improve pitch, tone and volume;
  • Makes and repairs jewellery and decorative precious metal ware, sets, cuts and polishes gemstones and makes master patterns for articles of jewellery.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Other manufacturing 6070
Retail trade 3358
Specialised construction 2473
Sale of motor vehicles 2469
Civil engineering 2389
Metal products 2159
Architectural & related 1773
Rubber & plastic 1431
Accommodation 1398
Other trans. equipment 1260
Employment status

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