THE ROOF TRAINING GROUPS are looking forward with ‘springtime optimism’, as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has confirmed their future funding.
The roof training groups say they can now continue their work for the next 12 months supporting roofing contractor members.
CITB’s consultation with employers ended in late January with resounding support for the groups’ activities. A National Roof Training Group (NRTG) spokesperson said, “It’s now time for us to press ahead. We will be upskilling the existing workforce and ensuring the right skills are in place for the next generation of workers. We’ll also be sourcing and providing the various training courses needed to ensure our members comply with regulations and achieve their business growth objectives.
“Additionally, we will continue acting as training advisers. This means not just focusing on reducing the costs of training (which members value), but – more importantly – helping members to take their businesses to the next level.”
Roof Training Groups Knowledge
The confirmed CITB funding supports the groups by providing an administration grant. It is paid in arrears every quarter on receipt of satisfactory audit reports from group training officers, who run the groups on a day-to-day basis.
The officers are in turn supported by a committee of roofing contractor members. This means they are inherently knowledgeable about the needs, constraints and changes taking place in the roofing sector.
Melissa Fazackerley at Longworth Building Services says the company’s roof training group performs a range of functions for the business that go well beyond solely organising training. She says, “The North West Independent Roof Training Group (NWRTG) connects us with others in the industry, including professionals to seek advice and gives us a voice in overall sector developments.
“The NWRTG also helps us take advantage of offers and incentives, translating information we might not otherwise understand. It keeps us up to date with legislative and government information that affects industry and helps us budget and strategize and ultimately achieve our business T&Os.”
A Safe and Quality Workforce
These are challenging times for all, and in the roofing sector this has meant meeting the huge current demand for roofing. Safety and the need for roofing training and upskilling is more important than ever. To ensure a safe and quality assured workforce, group members are taking up a range of training opportunities.
Jo Burton from Cemplas Waterproofing & Concrete Repairs Ltd, said, “As a company, due to London & Southern Roofing Training Group we have been able to maintain a high level of training for our employees. This, in turn, has given our clients the peace of mind that our level of works is to a high standard with our employees’ skill sets.”
The groups report members not just taking up essential health and safety courses – whether classroom or e-learning based. They are also upskilling and looking for apprenticeships. These can be traditional, or take the form of a Trailblazer, Specialist Applied-Skills Programmes, On-Site Assessment, Leadership & Management, Heritage specialities, or CPDs. The Training Officers’ relationships with training providers, colleges, as well as manufacturers, remain key to continuing success.
Recruitment and Retention in UK Roofing
While groups operate on an individual basis with some working from their own training centres, passion for the UK roofing sector drives them all. They are uniquely positioned to act as ambassadors for the UK roofing sector, to help promote roofing as a career and address the crucial recruitment and skills shortages that many roofing contractors continue to face.
Greg Brett FIoR, director of Treforest Tiling Ltd sees his local roof training group as vital to the development and success of his business. He said, “I have used the Wales National Roof Training Group (WNRTG) for training of my staff and operatives on various health and safety courses, site supervisory, management and up skilling through the SAP programme which has been vital in us recruiting and growing our workforce.”
However, in the latest tranche of CITB funding it was stipulated that support was no longer available for roofing career promotional projects, although schools work remains permissable.
Getting in Touch
Membership of Roof Training Groups is open to all roofing contractors who are invited to make contact with their region’s roof training group officer. Most groups make a small charge for annual membership which helps supplement the CITB administrative grant – which hasn’t increased in more than 10 years.
The NRTG adds, “As we move out of the pandemic, and with spring in the air, there couldn’t be a better time for us to be energetic in our preparations for the future. This is the time for all of us involved with roofing training to collaborate, work, and speak together to ensure the best service to our members.