Arts & crafts


Thatchers use traditional craft skills, materials and tools to replace and repair thatched roofs.

Annual Salary

£13,000 to £26,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • put up scaffolding or secure ladders to buildings
  • strip off old roofs
  • check roof timbers for damage or rot
  • repair, treat or replace timbers
  • prepare materials, like straw, wheat reed or water reed into bundles ready for use
  • secure bundles of thatch to roof timbers using tarred cord or metal hooks
  • grow and harvest your own thatching materials

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work at a client's home.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height, physically demanding and dusty.

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • doing specialist courses run by training organisations

You may be able to do an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing occupations.

This will usually take 18 months to complete and could help you to get a trainee job with a thatching company. You would then do further training in thatching methods with your employer.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information

You could start by looking for work as a trainee thatcher or thatcher's labourer. Once you're working, your employer may train you to qualify as a thatcher.

Direct application

You may be able to apply directly to thatching companies if you've got experience in related work like roofing or reed cutting.

Your enthusiasm and practical skills will be as important as qualifications.

Other routes

You could do a specialist training course if you're interested in heritage and conservation skills like thatching. The Prince's Foundation also runs courses in building crafts, including thatching.

These courses may help you to get a trainee job as a thatcher.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height
  • have a good level of fitness

More information

Career tips

You may need to relocate to an area where thatching skills are in demand.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the National Society of Master Thatchers to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about thatching from the National Society of Master Thatchers.

You could set up your own business and take on other thatchers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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