When we say that something is unique, people often think it may be overstated. When we say that something is unique in North America, people have doubt. But in our case here, it is very true. In North America, if someone has a passion for stone cutting or is simply attracted to this trade for artistic reasons; he has no choice but to learn “on the job”, as we say. This way of learning is well established but it may in this case limit opportunities for the worker.
But there is a solution!
The stone cutting training program offered by the Professional Training Centre “Le Granit” in Lac-Mégantic, Québec.
It is not by accident if this training program is offered in the region which is precisely named “The Granite Region”! Stone cutting is an integral part of the economic and social fabric of this beautiful region, like wood and textile.
The Professional Training Centre “Le Granit” was founded some 20 years ago. The granite companies in the region saw an opportunity to offer formal training in stone cutting. Moreover, the companies wanted to integrate artistic elements in the training program because they saw this trade as more than just the use of tools and machines. This vision was inspired by a certain European philosophy, where the beauty of the stone is as important as its functionality. Indeed, the stone cutting training program in Lac-Mégantic was put in place initially by a French immigrant who was working in the stone cutting business in the Montreal region.
Today, this will not surprise you; there are not enough graduates to fulfill all the demands by the companies! 100% placement rate! Many university and college programs can’t rival this high placement rate. The stone cutting program would like to welcome more students than the ten they actually have on average each year. From this enrollment, seven will usually graduate and finish the program.
Two Training Components: Restoration and Manufacturing
As mentioned, stone cutting goes beyond the simple handling of the stone and its functionality. The program offers 2 mandatory fields of study/application: restoration and manufacturing. These two components are very appreciated by the students: it enables students to better understand the different material they will work with and it also gives them time to see which specialties they prefer to work in according to their taste and skills.
The types of employers are more diversified also with the 2 components:
In restoration, graduates can start their own business and execute restoration mandates. If you like to travel, these contracts are also in big demand all over the world. Don’t forget, your stone cutting skill becomes MOBILE, like our mobile devices! One of the graduates of the stone cutting program is now in England restoring buildings.
Graduates can also work for companies specialized in restoration of stone buildings, monuments, etc. They can work for general contractors with mandates to restore heritage buildings (stone mouldings for example). For example, in construction companies, graduates in stone cutting can be of great help to masons and brick-layers on the work site by noticing fine details of the type of stone used (direction in stone laying depending on the type of stone used).
In manufacturing, graduates who chose this path have the opportunity to join manufacturers and installers of tiles, countertops, steps, monuments, etc.
Students can now use a laser machine to measure stone work in kitchens or stone façades for buildings.
The training is a one- year program and includes a practical internship in a company. For those who already have experience in the field, the Professional Training Center “Le Granit” offers credential recognition and this can reduce the training time. The program can also be done part-time with work as well (work-study). The Centre ideally would like to have at least 15 students enrolled each year in order to serve the great needs in the market.
What is usually the students’ background for this training?
Students all have a very diverse background and experience: from the special education teacher to the brick-layer. Some are also coming directly from high school (in parallel with secondaire 3 DEP).
The Professional Training Centre has an excellent collaboration with the granite enterprises in the region. Eight years ago, the Quebec government was looking at cancelling this training program but 40 support letters from companies in the region helped turn this decision around and it kept the much appreciated program in Lac-Mégantic.
The main challenge is to recruit enough students interested in completing the program. Stone cutting is considered a “traditional sector” and is less sought-after by the younger generation. It is sad because numerous opportunities abound in this field.
There are still many myths surrounding the « traditional sectors”. Few know how they can use their creativity in this kind of work today. For the restoration specialty, your imagination is the only limit of what you can accomplish.
When you enroll in a stone cutting training program, you contribute to the protection of the work of builders who went before us. You are a link in the transmission of this know-how in the continuum of time. Beyond the technical aspect, this training enables to share the genuine love for stone material and the pride in beautiful work. It is to be part workman, part artist!
Your satisfaction during the training grows with the new contacts you make and who are glad to share their know-how and experience with the students.
Don’t miss your chance of carving out your place in the world of great builders!