We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Thatcher

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £26,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements.

Experience in related jobs like roofing or reed cutting may be useful. Employers may ask for some GCSEs or equivalent, but your enthusiasm and your practical skills will be as important as qualifications.

You’ll need a good level of fitness and an enthusiasm for traditional building crafts.

You could contact individual thatchers or thatching companies to see if they've a vacancy for a trainee thatcher or thatcher's labourer.

If you’re aged 16 to 18, you could get into this job through a young heritage apprenticeship, run by the Prince's Foundation.

The National Society of Master Thatchers has more information on becoming a thatcher.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent practical skills
  • number skills
  • communication and negotiating skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll prepare roofs and materials by:

  • putting up scaffolding or securing ladders to buildings
  • stripping off old roofs
  • checking roof timbers for damage or rot
  • repairing, treating or replacing timbers
  • preparing materials, like straw, wheat reed or water reed into bundles ready for use

You’ll then secure bundles of thatch to roof timbers (battens), using tarred cord or metal hooks.

You’ll use a range of thatching craft tools, like shearing hooks, needles, eave-knives and mallets.

You might also grow and harvest your own thatching materials.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000

Experienced: £13,000 to £20,000

Highly Experienced: up to £26,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually be self-employed.

Your hours will depend on the availability of work, but could include early starts, late finishes and weekends, especially during the summer months.

You’ll be outdoors in most weather conditions, working at height.

The job is physically demanding and can get dusty.

You’ll usually need a driving licence.

6. Career path and progression

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

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 18 August 2017