1st September 2012
In 2010, just after starting his apprenticeship with Albion Stone plc, Thomas Whitehead achieved his first win in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge organised by Stone Federation GB, and last year he repeated this in the national finals after also topping the English/Welsh heats. This year Thomas has won the 2012 national competition after coming first in the English/Welsh heat, which was held at Weymouth College in May.
Competitors had to complete a specific project in an agreed time. They were given a drawing, a piece of Portland Stone and the materials necessary for making moulds and templates. The stone then had to be worked with a traditional mallet and chisel - no mechanical tools were allowed.
Bristol-born Thomas Whitehead studied for an arts foundation diploma at Filton College and it was there that a lecturer noted his skill in carving and suggested stonemasonry as a career. He admitted "I can execute against a plan, but can't come up with the ideas, so working to a drawing - which is what we do in the competition - is perfect for me."
Thomas is now in his third year of a block release course at Weymouth and is employed by Albion Stone plc.
Having qualified to enter Britain's biggest skills competition, SkillBuild, Thomas Whitehead went on to achieve a Gold award in the SkillBuild stonemasonry Final.