11/28/2012 (press release: OnlinePR) // UK
Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare has appointed its first ever apprentice within their Memorial Masonry division, giving its latest recruit a chance to learn a lifelong skill alongside one of the industry’s most talented masons.
After a competitive application process, 19 year old Jonathan Beck has begun a three year apprenticeship under the tutelage of Master Stone Mason Chris Wilkinson, learning all there is to know about the creation of memorials at one of the region’s biggest masonry companies.
Jonathan, from Bilston, was selected for the role after showing a natural skill in painting and engraving during his interview. He said of his new role: “Some of my friends were a bit surprised by my new career choice, but I can honestly say that I’m loving every minute of it, especially the drawing and design, which I have always enjoyed but never thought I would make a career out of.”
“I have learnt so much already and having a chance to develop a lifelong skill is invaluable, especially considering how difficult it is for people of my age to find work at the moment. Having Chris as a mentor is fantastic and I hope I can be as successful as him in my career.”
Starting off as a masonry apprentice himself, Chris Wilkinson was awarded the coveted title of ‘Young Stonemason of the Year’ in 1996 by the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM), the definitive body for masonry standards in the United Kingdom, putting him amongst the top masons in the UK.
Chris will now mentor Jonathan in all the skills necessary to become a memorial mason, including hand engraving, freehand design and renovation. He said of Jonathan’s appointment: “Despite having no previous experience, Jonathan showed a rare and natural aptitude for the job which is why we took him on. Due to the nature of our work, no two jobs at the Masonry Centre are ever the same, so Jonathan will have a great opportunity to build strong foundations for his future career.”
Shayne Taylor, The Midcounties Co-operative Head of Masonry Services, said: “The majority our memorial masonry work is still traditionally crafted by hand, so it is crucial that we employ the most skilled craftsmen to deliver the quality work our customers expect.
“Our established team of 12 colleagues working at our Walsall centre share over 180 years’ memorial masonry experience between them, and Jonathan has the opportunity to learn his craft from the wealth of knowledge that surrounds him. We are delighted to have him join our team and wish him the very best of luck.”
The Midcounties Co-operative Memorial Masonry Centre in Walsall is the headquarters of the Midcounties Co-operative Masonry division, with further centres in Willenhall and Swindon. All of its memorials are created and installed by its experienced team of craftsmen who cover the West Midlands, Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Midcounties Co-operative has its headquarters in Warwickshire, with trading outlets in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and the surrounding counties.
The Society’s trading groups are food retail, funeral, travel, pharmacy, childcare nurseries, employee benefits and energy.
The Midcounties Co-operative is the largest independent co-operative society in the UK and has more than 470 branches, and 245,000 active trading members. It is in The Sunday Times Best 25 Companies To Work For list for the second year running.
The Society’s mission statement is ‘To be a successful consumer co-operative working towards creating a better, fairer world, and to enhance the lives of our colleagues, members, customers, and the communities we serve’.
For more details call Sophie Baker at Seal on 0121 616 5800 or email [email protected]
About The Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare
Midcounties Coop funeral services has over 70 local funeral homes throughout the West Midlands, Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire areas which offer a full range of services for all types of funeral. We also offer a complete range of co op memorials options through our Masonry service together with the opportunity to make funeral plans and a memorial in advance through selecting one of our excellent range of Pre-Payment Funeral and Pre-Payment Masonry Plans.
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