Annette McIntyre.

With pic - heritage joiner.

A joiner whose career was transformed by the Prince of Wales Heritage Scheme has launched his own business to restore historic buildings throughout the North of England.

Stephen Jefferson, from Pool-in-Wharfedale, has started a carpentry business specialising in heritage work that he hopes will help to keep traditional building methods alive while restoring a wide range of historic buildings.

He had already completed a carpentry and joinery course at Leeds College of Building and worked as an apprentice for five years when he won one of just 10 places available on the prestigious Building Craft Apprentices Programme, which is part of the Prince of Wales Heritage Scheme.

During the course, he spent eight months working alongside some of the UK’s leading master craftspeople who specialise in traditional building and conservation methods. He then spent two years working for one of the UK’s leading traditional building companies in Wales.

Stephen, 24, offers a full range of heritage carpentry and joinery services including green oak framing and traditional roofing systems. He now hopes his new business, which is known as Stephen Jefferson Joinery, can give other young people the chance to do an apprenticeship and learn about traditional building techniques.

He said: "I spent a couple of years working on new properties but it was always older buildings that fascinated me where things are rarely symmetrical and have often been in place for hundreds of years. My former tutor at Leeds College of Building, Joe Clancy, persuaded me to apply for the Prince of Wales Heritage Scheme and it has completely transformed my career. In the last two years the newest building I have worked on was 300 years old and the oldest was The Old Duchy Palace in Cornwall, which is a Grade I listed 700-year-old building.

"There’s definitely demand for traditional building skills, covering everything from residential barn conversions through to the restoration of historic buildings, but these skills are dying out."