Cameron builds for his future

Cameron Waring (21) from Ballymena who is laying foundations for his future on the Prince's Foundation programme.
Cameron Waring (21) from Ballymena who is laying foundations for his future on the Prince's Foundation programme.

A skilled Ballymena craftsman is set to play his part in the conservation of some of the UK’s renowned historic buildings.

Cameron Waring was selected as part of this year’s intake on The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft programme, where he will work with expert craftspeople to take his skills to the next level.

Twenty-one-year-old Cameron, said: “When I left school, I didn’t know what to do and saw an advert for an apprentice bricklayer with a local firm.

“After graduating from the college, I left the firm and set up on my own and have built up a good list of clients.

“I was looking to the future when I applied for The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft programme. I don’t want to be banging the blocks down when I’m 65. Luckily, I gained a place on the programme.”

The course starts with an intensive three-week Summer School delivered in London and Ayrshire. Students learn skills such as drawing and geometry and embark on architectural tours during their stint in Shoreditch before heading north to participate in workshops at Dumfries House estate with master craftspeople in stonemasonry, joinery and timber framing, thatching, lime plastering and pargeting.

The group then tackled a design workshop on the estate, near Cumnock, in the inspiring surroundings of Valentin’s Education Farm, learning about public consultations, design modelling and technical drawing.

Cameron, a former pupil of Ballymena Primary and Cullybackey High and a former student of Newtownabbey College, said: “I would like to put into everyday practice the skills I’ve learned here, especially the stonecarving and plastering.

“For me, getting into the specialist side of brickwork, setting granite heads and creating arches, is more detailed and better.

“In London, we were working on drawing and geometry, which is useful for me. We touched on that at college, but we we went into it in more detail on this programme.”

Cameron and the other students are now at Dumfries House for a Live Build project, working alongside construction professionals to gain first-hand experience on site.

They will then move on to placements with master craftspeople working on traditional new building schemes and conservation projects across the UK.

Upon completion of the course, they will graduate with a Heritage Skills NVQ Level Three.

Simon Sadinsky, deputy executive director (education) of The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said: “We believe it is crucial to preserve these valuable skills, which are gradually being lost as the average age of workers in the Historic Buildings sector approaches retirement age.

“It’s crucial that we pass on the wisdom and knowledge built up over hundreds of thousands of years. This course is designed for craftspeople like Cameron who are looking to bridge the gap between basic qualifications and becoming a master craftsperson working in the heritage sector.”