School of Natural Building (SNaB)


Training Programme

Natural Building involves intuition, skill, knowledge and experience. The School is aimed at people who want to acquire natural building knowledge & skills. Subsequently this learning could be used in various situations depending on ability and aspirations i.e. building your own house, working with others on a natural building project, designing better strawbale buildings, teaching or just for fun!

We are particularly looking for women who would like to be natural builders. Garden BuildingOnly 1% of workers on the tools in mainstream construction are women, but we estimate that women make up at least 30% of workers in natural building. Help us increase this percentage by applying to join our traineeship.

Becoming a Natural Builder is most suitable for people who are self-employed, or work part time, as we will not be able to offer full time work, and we expect that you will have other forms of income as well.

We recognise that some of you have already attended many of our courses, or ones of similar quality offered by others, or already work for us as builders and trainers, and wish to increase your existing skills. This will be taken into account when we draw up your training route, and discuss with you the cost of further training.

There is no fixed starting date for the School as each trainee has a bespoke Learning Contract. There is also no fixed sequence of courses as they can be followed in any order.

Practical Building (PPB).

 You will be required to undertake the following:

2 weeks Strawbale building (SB) training £650 (£65 per day)
2 weeks Clay Plaster (CP) training £650
2 weeks Lime Plaster (LP) training £650
3 days Car Tyre (CT) training £195

Followed by gaining further work experience at your own expense for 1 week in each subject except for CT where the requirement is for 3 days.  This experience could be gained either on further courses or on contract builds and would need to be agreed individually.  On courses you would not be charges the course fee and on contract builds you would be provided with food and accommodation.

Practical Building also includes attendance at the following 4 core courses twice (but only paid for once) in order to gain the theoretical knowledge needed:

Preparing to Build with Bales (PBB) £45
The First Straw (FS) £35
Essential Plasters (EP) £35
Design & Details (DD) £35

Work experience should be followed by working for a minimum of 3 weeks in each subject at a trainee rate of between £30-60 per day according to ability in order to build up your experience.  Acquiring professional skills takes time and you will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Total Cost is £2,295

See All Our Courses for more info on the courses listed above. Some may be advertised at short notice because we work with self-builders who may not be able to give a long lead-in time.  We will advise all trainees of courses by email as they are finalised.

For an Application Form and more details, email Clair at

Other Courses

From time to time we will also offer optional courses:

 Introduction to Training the Trainers:

For people who want to teach on our one day core modules and/or train others in practical skills on a building site. On completion you will be able to assist on our one day courses and on our builds as a trainee, practising giving the presentations and shop talks, leading the group, and supervising until you and we feel you are comfortable and knowledgeable enough to take on more responsibility.  You will need further training before you can lead one of our practical courses

 Self Employment:

For people who want to set up their own business. 2 day classroom based training.

 Project Management:

For people who want to manage their own build or project. 2 day classroom based training.

Each 2 day course costs £130

The total cost for each trainee will vary depending on your chosen training path, and your previous experience.

Additional Courses

Carpentry for Straw bale Houses


Cost on application

Payment of the fee up front earns a 10% discount, making the balance £2,065.50 or in monthly payments over 1 year £191.25 per month. All trainees receive a 10% discount on other Straw Works courses as well.

Your learning contract will detail your programme and its costs tailored individually for you.  Should you decide to discontinue your training with us you will be required to pay any outstanding costs.

Payment for food, travel and accommodation during your training period is your own responsibility, although if we can help with this eg by offering cheaper communal accommodation or camping we will do.