From education to employment

North East Employers work together to give careers in roofing a kickstart

Redcar and Cleveland College (@RedcarCollege) has joined forces with two leading North East roofing contractors to help tackle an industry skills gaps and kick-start high quality, long term career opportunities.

Working in conjunction with the college, Stockton-based Barclay Roofing and Redcar’s AAA Roofing have developed an intensive six-week course that aims to give people who are currently unemployed the opportunity to test their suitability for a career in the trade. 

Funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, those that complete the ‘Get Ready for Roofing’ programme will receive a guaranteed interview for a six-month kickstart paid work placement, and the chance of future employment.

Esme Flounders, Business Development Director at Barclay Roofing, said:

“Here at Barclay Roofing, we are finding it more and more difficult to attract skilled workers into our business.  We know this is an industry wide issue, but it is particularly pertinent across the Tees Valley because of a historic lack of dedicated training resources in this area.

“Although we are fortunate to have very low staff turnover, with many of our skilled tradespeople being of long service, as one of the larger roofing contractors in the region, we feel a responsibility to our industry to change this and secure the long-term future of our trade.”

By working directly with employers, the new course has been created to test aptitude for a career in the technically demanding roofing industry and includes everything a candidate will need to safely work on site and begin longer term accredited training.

Offering an introduction to construction skills, working at heights, health and safety, asbestos and abrasive wheels awareness, the course also covers personal development, interview skills and the CSCS Test and Green Card.

With the potential to move into employment following the work placement, Esme added that the course is a huge step forward for construction skills in the Tees Valley.  It is hoped this end-to-end skills programme will create a pipeline of high-quality roofing skills for the area and go some way to reducing the workforce shortage, while also creating high quality employment opportunities for people across the Tees Valley.

Ben Blackburn, Managing Director of AAA Roofing, said:

“As Redcar born and bred, and with several business interests in the area, I feel passionately about my hometown.  As such, I am incredibly proud to be working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland College and Barclay Roofing to offer a focussed, skills-based training and careers pathway for the people in the town and across the Tees Valley.

“We know unemployment has been an issue across the area for many years and has been exacerbated by the pandemic.  In launching this programme, we are not only working to move the industry forward by injecting the next generation of skills, we are offering high quality career opportunities for the long term.”

There are 16 work placements available between the two employers.  Whilst needing a good head for heights, potential recruits must be aged 18 to 24, claiming Universal Credit and be referred to the programme by their JCP Work Coach.

Working with the Department of Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus, and with funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, the first course is due to start at Redcar and Cleveland College later this month (April 2021).

The college’s Group Head of Pre-Employment, Partnerships and Projects and Head of Commercial provision at Redcar and Cleveland College, Joanne Scott, said:

“This course is the result of a real collaborative effort and has been made possible through the support of leading industry employers, looking not just at their own skills needs but those of the industry as a whole.

“We are pleased to be able to bring this opportunity to the Tees Valley, helping young unemployed people develop skills that are in real demand by local employers and to be a launchpad for what could be a lifelong highly skilled career.”

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