Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • put up scaffolding or secure ladders to buildings
  • strip off old roofs
  • check roof timbers for damage or rot
  • repair, treat or replace timbers
  • prepare materials, like straw, wheat reed or water reed into bundles ready for use
  • secure bundles of thatch to roof timbers using tarred cord or metal hooks
  • grow and harvest your own thatching materials


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • customer service skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a thatcher, specific subjects are not typically required. Thatching is a traditional craft that involves roofing with thatch materials such as straw, reed, or heather. However, having a general education with a focus on practical skills and relevant knowledge can be beneficial. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. Design and Technology: Courses related to design and technology or vocational training can provide hands-on experience and knowledge related to construction and roofing techniques.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be useful for measurements, calculations related to materials, and estimating project costs.
  3. Science: While not mandatory, understanding natural materials and their properties, such as different types of thatch materials, can be beneficial.
  4. Physical Education (PE): Thatching can be physically demanding, so being physically fit and having stamina can be an asset.
  5. Woodwork or Carpentry: Courses related to woodwork or carpentry can provide skills in working with materials and tools that are relevant to thatching.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • doing specialist courses run by training organisations

You may be able to do an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing.

This will usually take 18 months to complete and could help you to get a trainee job with a thatching company. You would then do further training in thatching methods with your employer.

You could start by looking for work as a trainee thatcher or thatcher’s labourer. Once you’re working, your employer may train you to qualify as a thatcher.

Direct Application
You may be able to apply directly to thatching companies if you’ve got experience in related work like roofing or reed cutting.

Your enthusiasm and practical skills will be as important as qualifications.

Other Routes
You could do a specialist training courses if you’re interested in heritage and conservation skills like thatching.

These courses may help you to get a trainee job as a thatcher.

Career tips
You may need to relocate to an area where thatching skills are in demand.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 42 to 44 hours a week.

You could work at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height, physically demanding and dusty.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career Path & Progression:

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