DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

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DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby mb0102 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:49 am

I am looking for feedback from members and non-members of DSWA abouit why they did or didnt join DSWA and if you arent a member, what would it take to for you to join.

Hopefully we can use this feedback to review / improve the membership of DSWA
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby mandomister » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:07 pm

Hi there,
I,m not a professional waller & have limited experience in dry stone work but i recently joined DSWA. my reason was that i believe in supporting the organization that does so much to promote the craft . The amount i spent on the joining fee many people would loose backing a horse/dog or spend in a bar on a Saturday afternoon.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:06 pm

mbo102,
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your organisation and the purpose of your research? Is it about the DSWA specifically or about membership of craft organisations?
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby mb0102 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:37 pm

I am a representative on the DSWA management committee and part of the membership group

The aim of the group is to encourage active memberrship and maintain / increase membership levels.

The purpose of the question is to get honest feedback on what might change / improve to meet these aims and help shape future membership of DSWA.

The question was specifically aimed at DSWA. but ideas or experiences from other craft organisations will be useful.

Does this answer the question?
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby George Gunn » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:45 pm

I think that if the DSWA forum moderators actually moderated this forum in a sensible way it might encourage people to post here. :D
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby Steaming North » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:04 pm

vikingdyking wrote:I think that if the DSWA forum moderators actually moderated this forum in a sensible way it might encourage people to post here. :D


I agree with this - not only would it encourage people to post on here but also to join.

The reason I haven't joined is because of the personal attacks and insults flying back and forth on here.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby jerryg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:14 pm

One of the reasons I joined was to reduce the number of personal attacks on me by a certain member of the DSWA, thinking that if I was in fact a member he would leave me alone. It didn't work. Luckily for me he has now left this site. But now I've joined I'll probably carry on supporting it though.

It's interesting, to me at least, that now there are far less personal attacks on people on here, there are a lot less postings, odd that.

Regards the DSWA in general, years ago dry stone walling was undoubtedly a dying art and needed someone to fight for their upkeep and conservation, which the DSWA did. There was a dearth of wallers in those days. Does that mean that the DSWA can now disappear, job well done?, nope cos they seem to have found lots of none professional walling members who need their occasional dry stone walling kick by doing their bit at weekends. I suffer from dry stone walling addiction to the point of building dry stone pebble walls on sunny beaches on holiday.

I would say that nowadays the future of dry stone walling is safe, what isn't too good though is that there seems to me to be far more dry stone wallers than there is paid work to do.

There seems to be a fair number of people coming into the business that are just totally in it for the money and don't seem to have a feel for the craft. I believe more or less anyone can learn dry stone walling but only a few develop the knack of being a true craftsperson dry stone waller, whether as professional or amateur.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby mandomister » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:11 pm

Hi all,
Although i.m a recent member i have browsed this forum for a few months & i have to say i was very surprised at the catty remarks & sometimes personal attacks on certain people. I thought that a forum was for like minded people to share their experiences , knowledge & on occasions make some friends. It certainly made me hesitant to post on here & when i eventually asked for some advice i didn,t get any replies so i plodded on with my little job, probably not to the standard many of you experienced wallers would carry out . It made me feel like maybe walling is a bit of a closed shop industry. I hope i,m wrong as thought part of promoting the craft is to encourage & give guidance to newcomers.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby George Gunn » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:38 pm

The bane of the forum, who pissed everyone off, has not been on for a while. Mebbe things will improve, mebbe the next post is a flamer! :D
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby Nigel » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:43 pm

I joined last year and very much enjoyed the magazine, I still read the articles now.

I am not a member at present, membership is expensive for one years worth of 'waller and dyker' for a chap like me there is no DSWA schemes to help with the general running of a business, no recommended insurer ect... (join a classic car club for a lot less and get a whole lot more in my experience). I was also not impressed to get a membership card that stated I had no 'DSWA skills', a pointless and negative statement and not something that inspires me to come on courses. I pay for full membership, I should get the same as everybody else, certification is a different matter all together.

Also, and I have posted here about it, I live in the Cotswolds and would have thought that this would be an important area for the DSWA and yet little or nothing happens here, certainly nothing in the last waller and dyker where all the other groups seemed to have diary dates for months ahead, I see they do some training, and yes I attended a beginners course 5 or more years ago. that has just reminded me that at one point all of us who were attending the course were asked if we were considering walling for a living, when I put my hand up I was almost laughed at, but here I am earning most of my living from walling. luckily my father didnt laugh at me and has taught me since.

As I earn so much of my income from walling, I cant join unless I pay the top price for membership, penalised for doing more in my opinion. I hear those of you who say I should support the cause and I do by rebuilding community walls for free and showing anybody that is interested how to build walls.

Things would have to change a little before I spend that much again.

DSWA committee are more than welcome to contact me if they wish to discuss this further with me, I would be glad to help (it would be worth joining if I thought I was doing something to help the cause).
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby jerryg » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:52 pm

Hi Nigel, I can't see why you can't just pay the open membership. I have no need of any of the DSWA craftsman skills. It's a bit daft really cos if I do decide to do the craftsman skill course I would have to start at the bottom and pay £100 just for a piece of paper to show I can build 2 and a half square metres in 7 hours half as well as it ought to be built, wow. There is no advantage being a professional member unless you do the DSWA skills courses as the DSWA do not recognise you as a waller unless you have got one of their bits of paper, and you won't appear on their professional register either.

I am sure the DSWA would rather have you as an ordinary member than not being a member at all.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby jim scott » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:04 pm

Hi Jerry,
I agree with your position,you are an established craftsman, in your area,but to a waller starting off,it could be a good idea,to join and prove that they have some sort of qualification,albeit a minor one,but can always be improved,for lets face it,you will not be able to go to the toilet without a certificate in the near future.

Again I agree with what you are saying about the" Bits of paper",there are people out there,established dykers, over a a lot of years, who could beat the pants of a lot of DSWA craftsmen, probably including myself,who are not recognised by the DSWA,for the simple reason they are not members and don't want to start at a level,which demeans there skills.As a former member of the management committee,I have tried, to find a means, of fast tracking these people through the system,but to no avail.

In my mind the DSWA management committee wants to stand back and take at look at DSWAC,to see how to create an interest in walling,

Jim.
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby jerryg » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:03 am

Hi Jim, I have nothing against newcomers getting on the DSWA certification scheme as I agree it might be hard to find work without one especially for construction jobs. I can remember not so long ago when there were only 5 or 6 adverts in our yellow pages for dry stone wallers, now there are over 40. I am sure that is the same in all areas, it must be hard for new wallers to get any work and thus reputation so I suppose the only way to success would be to get the 'bits of paper'.

If I had my time again, I would have taken up the offer I received whilst working in Scotland in the late 80's from the local DSWA representatives to come out to my worksites and assess me for the mastercraftsman certificate, then I too would have one of those bits of paper. :D :D
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby Nigel » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:56 am

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your support and I would have to agree that some membership is better than none, I am pretty sure there were some rules about the membership relating to how much of an income you gained from walling.

Certification is important if you don't have a portfolio of work or customers that will give you on-going work, word of mouth is always best, for example Plumbers and Electricians need constant training, but that does not mean they are any good as tradesmen, doing a decent job is only part of it, I could get a qualification and then be rude to the customer, turn up late or not at all, not tidy up after myself, over charge the customer and then ignore the customer when something goes wrong.

So, for me a certificate is just a little piece of the puzzle, and far from being the most important. Walling is a long and time consuming job, if a customer is not happy with your work, they can kick you off of site the next day if you have a certificate or not.

My gripe is the membership card is spoilt with the 'holds no DSWA Skills' statement. I have been interviewed on the telly because of what I do, I have been invited by Cotswold wardens to attend the competitions after they have seen me work, I have been recommended by 2 Cotswold wardens for jobs in my area for the work that I do.

I think I will join again, but not at the top rate as I get nothing more for the pleasure of paying more. I love the work they do, I love the life of a waller, I will do everything I can to promote the good work of the waller.

And yes, if the certification scheme was flexible enough to let members skip the first stages I might go on an intermediate course. Food for thought I hope.

Best wishes,

Nigel
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Re: DSWA Membership - Join or Not?

Postby Tracey B » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:23 pm

Nigel. There is no requirement to take the Initial Certification first, you can go straight in at Intermediate level.
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