The CWF work-based Foundation degree training and qualification has been designed specifically to meet the craft skill requirements of cathedral and heritage employers. Our ‘master to apprentice’ approach has been developed over the years and involves some of the best tutors in their field in the country.

The quality of the skills our students develop has been recognised by students winning a number of awards including the Duke of Gloucester Award for Excellence in Stonemasonry.

The Foundation degree is delivered over two academic years. As part of their course, students visit all nine CWF cathedrals and other important historic buildings and work on-site and in a class room setting. They also participate in the various stone festivals organised by cathedrals in the UK and abroad.

Students are fortunate to be tutored by expert crafts people, and to see major restoration work at first hand as it is happening, such as the recent installation of the statue of St Peter on York Minster above and the piecing together of the Great South Window at Canterbury Cathedral, shown below.

Course modules include:

Year One

  • Learning and Studying at Work
  • Understanding the Cathedral Environment
  • Principles of Stone/Wood Construction
  • Setting Out
  • Principles of Historic Building Conservation

Year Two

  • Investigative Skills
  • Practical Historic Building Conservation
  • Historic Ornamental Carving
  • Environmental and Sustainability Initiatives
  • Professional Development in the Cathedral Environment

Students study Architecture and Archaeology throughout the course and complete a practical Work Based Project in each year of the programme.

“The standard is impressively high, with all students showing marked progress, and several undoubtedly outstanding. It is clear that the students have learned exactly what they need to pass on to a career in conservation. I was very pleased to see that the assessment work required the students to learn those vital skills – particularly in communication and research – that will stand them in brilliant stead in their careers”
External Examiner’s Report, 2019

Martin Gwilliams is a current student. He is writing a blog about his experiences working in the Gloucester Cathedral stonemasonry workshop whilst also studying for the Foundation degree.  Read the latest episodes of his blog,  A Mason’s Mark





Crafts people employed by other heritage organisations, or who are self-employed in the sector, may be eligible to join the programme. Contact us for more information

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