JORDAN CONDREN is the gold medal winner of the 2019 national Skillbuild roofing competition.
Jordan, who is a student at Newcastle College under Alan Bessford’s tutelage and apprentice at County Durham-based Hodgson Sayers Ltd, won the 2019 regional heats across the UK to successfully compete against seven other young roofers at the Skillbuild finals held at the NEC, Birmingham 21-13 November, 2019.
In second place, taking home silver is Joe Osborne, apprentice slater and tiler at The Roofing Corporation – the Lincolnshire roofing company that has produced two previous Skillbuild winners and this year’s flat roofing BMI Apprentice of the Year. Joe is a student at Leeds College of Building, the twin in this winning partnership with The Roofing Corporation, claiming a trio of Skillbuild winners in the competition’s previous three years.
Achieving the bronze medal is another Hodgson Sayers and Newcastle College apprentice student, David Crank.
Speaking of his experience of the finals, contestant Nick Davey, training at the South West Training Group and apprentice with Rob Siddall of RoofSmart in Devon, said, “It’s been hard work, but great fun. There’s been a lot of camaraderie and we’ve all pulled together and helped each other out. Taking part in the heats and the final really forces you to sharpen your skills and focus, and that makes you a better roofer. It’s been a really positive experience.”
The Skillbuild roofing finals demand three intense days of slating and tiling from competitors, under the constant view of not just the 80,000 young people coming through the doors of the NEC to investigate career options, but also the scrutiny of expert roofing judges, Bob Coutts, Andy Rowlands and Matt Timby.
Andy Rowlands explains, “The apprentices don’t see the spec for their rigs until the night before the competition. They have to really take in what they need to do and pay attention to the detail. Every minute counts because they have to complete everything – the slating, tiling, ridge, abutment and hip – in just 18 hours. That’s a big challenge.”
Matt Timby adds, “They’ve demonstrated an incredibly high standard this year and we’ve had to really look for precision down to the last millimetre to come up with the winners because all the finalists showed such a high level of skill and achieved such impressive quality rigs.”
The top two Skillbuild winners will now get the chance to represent Great Britain at a future international IFD roofing competition.
Roofing Careers Hub
This year’s Skillbuild saw an exciting new innovation, with a Roofing Careers Hub area next to the competition arena, where young show visitors could find out more about jobs in the roofing industry.
A year in the planning, and the brainchild of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), Head of Skills and Training, Simon Dixon, the Hub saw partner companies presenting roofing activities for interested youngsters to try their hands at.
A great hit was the virtual reality tour of a housing construction site offered by BMI UK & Ireland, where pitched roofing BMI Apprentice of the Year, Matthew Ford took the opportunity to talk to youngsters about roofing alongside BMI trainers, Matt and Alastair.
Wienerberger’s Standtoft tiles showcased clay construction with ‘carver of clay’ Ian Martinson; while Marley offered very popular quizzes, puzzles and prizes. Cupa Pizarras offered a mini have-a-go slate rig and Hambleside Danelaw talked teenagers through a typical roofing set up with its rig. SPV Group also supplied two of their young trainees who are four months into their roofing course to talk about their training experiences and answer questions.
All the partner manufacturers donated materials for the Skillbuild Slating and Tiling competition, including A Proctor Group which supplied their Roofshield underlay and Burton Roofing Merchants which provided fixings and accessories for contestants to use.
Hambleside Danelaw’s Head of Marketing, Anna Leeson said, “It’s been an exhausting but exhilarating two days, with literally hundreds of young people coming to find out more about roofing. It’s been great to see as many girls at the Hub as boys and the whole event has been a huge success. We’ve been delighted to play our part in promoting roofing and helping to recruit the next generation of roofers.”
Praising the support received for the Hub from manufacturers, who also donated materials for the competition, Simon Dixon said, “We need to inspire young people and continue increasing the pool of young roofing talent to tackle the current skills gap. This event has reached hundreds of young people and shown them the interesting and rewarding opportunities open to them in the roofing industry.”
NFRC’s Head of Technical, Bob Richardson added, “Worldskills say this is a ground-breaking event because, with all the other trades here, it brings together all the elements of the construction industry. That has a big impact on young people and really encourages them to think seriously about construction as a career.”
View the Rowles Report on Skillbuild 2019