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Thatching courses: what are they and how long do they take?

When you learn to thatch, you open up opportunities for your trade business. As a historic skill, it is compatible with both carpentry and joinery. Read on for information on thatching courses that help you discover a new trade.

Finding the right thatching courses is important whether you’re looking to upskill, learn a new trade, or offer additional services. Learn to thatch and it could be a gateway to a whole new income stream.

We had 10,000 searches for thatching jobs in 2023**, so it is a trade that very much still has demand.

Thatching is a historic trade that can be challenging and is definitely not right for you if you have a fear of heights!

However, it is also a brilliant career for anyone looking to:

  • Work with their hands
  • Work outside
  • Learn crafting skills
  • Create beautiful results for customers day after day

Taking a roof thatching course is one of the best ways to get experience and the know-how required to pursue this career. Sound tempting? Keep reading to learn all about thatching courses in the UK.

From eligibility to salaries and the different pathways to becoming a qualified thatcher, we’ll be covering everything you need to know.

Who can take a UK thatching course?

If thatching sounds like the ideal career for you, you may be curious about who can take a UK thatching course.

You may be surprised to know that anyone can become a thatcher. No matter your age or experience, you can sign up for a thatching course. You likely won’t even need any qualifications, although some course providers may require you to have GCSEs.

To become a thatcher, you’ll simply need to be:

  • Committed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Eager to learn

You’ll also need to be physically able to climb onto a roof and work hard as thatching isn’t an easy job.

If you’re concerned about staying safe while you work on roofs, check out our working at height guide.

How to find roof thatching courses

Once you’re ready to start your thatching training, you’ll need to know how to find a roof thatching course.

You can find a range of courses online but nothing beats practical experience.

You could alternatively consider a thatching apprenticeship. This is a great option for anyone who wants to receive a salary while training. You can find thatching apprenticeships through the National Society of Master Thatchers.

Another option is to approach local thatching companies. This will give you practical experience and if you build good relationships, there may be a job waiting for you at the end of your training.

How much does a thatcher earn?

This will vary depending on your experience level and the services you offer customers.

As a rough guide, you could expect to earn between £13,000 and £26,000.*

Once you qualify as a thatcher, you can either choose to look for employment or start your own business.

And, if building a business sounds tempting, why not join Checkatrade? We can:

  • Support your new business
  • Supply free marketing materials
  • Save you money on essentials like insurance, thatching tools, or fuel

There you can ask any important questions or for advice if you’re struggling. You can also chat to other thatchers and pick up any tips or guidance they can offer.

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How much does a master thatcher earn?

Becoming a master thatcher requires years of experience handling a range of different jobs and solving thatching problems. Luckily, as a master thatcher you could earn an even higher wage, taking home over £60k if you own your own business.

How long is a thatching apprenticeship?

Thatching training through an apprenticeship will come down to the qualification you are studying for. Generally, an intermediate apprenticeship will take 18 months, but if you want to become a master thatcher this will take longer.

How many thatchers are in the UK?

Once one of the most common options for roof protection, thatching is now seen more as a luxury for affluent homes. The number of thatchers in the UK substantially dwindled, but there are now an estimated 1,000 thatchers working in the UK full time.

If you decide to start a thatching business after your training, you’ll join them in an incredibly rewarding career.

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How long does it take to become a master thatcher?

To become a master thatcher, you’ll need to work hard to become proficient in all types of thatching.

If you work full time and consistently expand your knowledge base you could become a master thatcher in 5 years or so.

Reasons to learn to thatch with dedicated thatching courses

Here are some of the main reasons to upskill with a thatching course.

  • Becoming a thatcher is a great career for anyone who hates working in an office
  • You’ll get plenty of fresh air and learn a new craft
  • You can train to become a thatcher through an apprenticeship
  • There are also an online courses
  • Hands-on experience with a thatching company is the best thatching course around
  • Anyone can become a thatcher as long as they’re happy to work at heights
  • You need to keep up with the physical demands of the job
  • Once you qualify as a thatcher you’ll usually earn between £13,000 and £26,000, but master thatchers will earn more
  • As a skill, thatching is compatible with both carpentry and joinery

With over 10,000 job searches for thatching jobs on Checkatrade last year**, that’s a lot of people looking for skilled tradespeople who’ve completed a thatching course.

Feeling a little concerned about finding customers for a niche trade? Becoming a Checkatrade member will help customers to easily find your company when searching for local thatchers.

We even have a variety of different membership options depending on how many new customers you need.

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Get more leads and increase your revenue

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

* Numbers quoted from GOV UK’s national careers website accessed February 2024
** Internal search data from users of checkatrade.com website through 2023

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