The Masonic Charitable Foundation has given a grant of £31,000 to the Canterbury Cathedral Trust to support the fourth year’s training for a young stonemasonry apprentice at the Cathedral. At a ceremony on the 9th October 2017, the Provincial Grand Master, Geoffrey Dearing, presented the cheque to the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, saying how pleased the fraternity was to be able to support the stonemasons at the Cathedral. In reply, the Dean thanked the PGM and all who had contributed. It meant a lot to them and to the young apprentices who were just coming into “that wonderful craft”.
Speaking afterwards, the PGM said how pleased he had been to present the cheque to the Dean, and referred to the implicit connection there between speculative and operative masonry.
The apprenticeship programme at the Cathedral offers vocational training to young people that is truly life-changing. Seven apprentices are currently employed at Canterbury – four stonemasons, one painter and decorator, one scaffolder and one chef. Apprentices are recruited through Kent schools, colleges and advertisements in the local press. Coming from varied backgrounds, they are encouraged to explore their creative talents within the inspirational setting of the Cathedral as well as developing the technical and life skills needed for a career in their chosen trade or craft. Whilst these training placements are exceptional opportunities in their own right, the Cathedral also makes every effort to provide subsequent employment for the apprentices.