“Entering the industry was not a particularly magical story. I needed a job and an apprenticeship with Historic Scotland in stonemasonry came up. Because there is a lot of history in the area I grew up in, I was able to work on an incredible range of projects.”
When looking for a new adventure, Kris and his family moved to New Zealand. They had friends here who vouched for the country’s high quality of life, and an opening came up for stonemasons to help restore the historic Christchurch Arts Centre.
“Stuart and I met at the Arts Centre. But we both realised that eventually the work would come to an end. So we decided to go out on our own, and have not looked back since.”
Pinnacle Masonry now employs around 10 staff and specialises in heritage, restoration, and stone carving services.
“The biggest difference between New Zealand and Scotland is that here we do a lot of new builds, both residential and commercial. We also use a lot of new technologies and techniques. Back home it was predominantly restoring old buildings.”
Kris and Stuart employ several apprentices and appreciate the opportunity to pass their rare stonemasonry skills onto the next generation.
“Most of our apprentices are young Kiwi guys. We have learnt that honesty and open communication is the best approach to developing our apprentices and helping them move through the business. As a boss, you can also be a coach for them in other areas of their lives.”
“We met one of our staff when renovating the Arts Centre. He was a skilled labourer, but we saw potential in him, and put him through an apprenticeship with our business. Clark did a fantastic job and is now the foreman in our business.”
Kris and Stuart encourage any young person considering a career in trades to think about stonemasonry. It is a historic but exciting field full of new technical innovations, and the demand for the trade is only growing in New Zealand.
BCITO needs more people to consider an apprenticeship. For more information and to learn what support is available, visit: https://bcito.org.nz/apprentices/.
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