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Artistic ability and many childhood visits to Rosslyn Chapel have led a young Edinburgh woman to a career in stonemasonry.

Erin De Groome had considered becoming a marine biologist while she was a pupil at James Gillespie’s High School.

“I also considered becoming an artist but felt that didn’t offer realistic long-term prospects. I have always done a lot of sculpting and went to Rosslyn Chapel with my Mum lots of time when I was young, so I thought about stonemasonry,” explained Erin.

She found out about apprenticeship opportunities at St Mary’s Cathedral in Palmerston Place and began her four-year training last August.

Erin, who is 19, finds her job very satisfying. She has been making practice cuttings, moulding and defining pieces.

“You spend ages working on something which will be used on a building and you know it is going to be there long after you’re gone. There is something quite special about that,” she said.

She has been assured by industry experts that her skills will always be in demand.

“I am getting the chance to get trained, while I am earning and getting hands-on skills rather than going to university and maybe building up lots of debts before looking for a job,” she said.

Ideally, Erin would like to become a specialist stone carver in the future so she could combine her love of Gothic buildings, gargoyles and her masonry skills.

Erin’s supervisor and trainer, workshop foreman Andrew Ramsay, said: “Not only is Erin a talented and artistic stone carver, she also has a great sense of humour and adds much to everyday life in the workshop. The feedback we receive from Edinburgh College is first rate.”

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