Leeds College of Building (LCB) has enjoyed a boost to its roofing apprenticeship scheme via investment support from national roofing business, Burton Roofing.

The national roofing merchants, with a local depot in Lower Wortley, have committed £1,000 to the LCB’s roofing division, which offers roof slating and tiling apprenticeships to students aged 16 or over. The cash injection will go specifically towards the supply of roofing materials, which the college utilise for key practical training. The company has also run a vocational trip competition for Roofing Students to go on an all-expenses-paid journey to northern Spain for three days.

The students were sent to the famous CUPA PIZARRAS quarries – the biggest tectonic natural slate reserves in the world – to see first-hand where slate is excavated and manufactured for international distribution.

Despite a notable fall in numbers, apprenticeships remain a key cornerstone of trade careers for young people in the UK. Across all sectors, there were 375,800 apprenticeship starts in 2017/18 and a total of 814,800 participating apprentices across the country. Since 2010/11, over 3.8m apprenticeships have been started in the UK.

Speaking on their financial commitment and support of the LCB, Burton Roofing Director, Lee Keates, said:

“Both Cupa Pizarras and Burton Roofing Merchants acknowledge the need for more skilled labour within the construction industry. We took the joint initiative to support Leeds College of Building in its pursuit of excellence and development of industry skills through apprentices.”

The investment comes as a welcome gesture to the LCB, not to mention a wider endorsement of the relationship between commerce and trade education. Amidst a recent slump in starters, relevant industries are keen to encourage more young people to choose a trade path, and the LCB and other specialist establishments will no doubt hope further investment is to come.

The LCB is a standout institution in the nation, being the only further education college in the UK exclusively dedicated to construction and the built environment. The roofing and tiling course sits amongst a number of the college’s programmes that have enjoyed considerable success, with recent taster days having attracted significant interest.

Those involved with the LCB have spoken highly of its impact on its students’ lives. Chris Messenger, a Building Lecturer at the college, said:

“Seeing the apprentices in awe of the scale of an operation like this is quite inspiring. These students would never normally get opportunities like this, and they are truly life changing. This aspirational competition rewards the hard work of roofing apprentices and enthuses the whole department, allowing apprentices to see what opportunities are available out there in industry.”

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