NFRC launches new Roofing Careers Service

NFRC launches new Roofing Careers Service

The NFRC Roofing Careers Service will help employers take on and retain new talent and has been specifically designed for SME contractors. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones talks to the organisation’s Ruth Scarrott about the new initiative.

The skills crisis is now well-documented and sourcing staff in many of the trades, including roofing, is becoming increasingly problematic. There is equally a growing recognition that the industry itself needs to do more to nurture the next generation and the NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) Roofing Careers Service is helping small and medium sized firms to do just that.

“The most recent figures for apprenticeship enrolment reveal that they are increasing dramatically,” reveals Ruth Scarrott, NFRC Head of Careers, “and the driver for that is that employers are realising that they can’t rely on others to develop talent – they have to recruit the right people themselves.”

For the busy tradesperson, however, the main obstacle to taking on an apprentice has always been the time it takes to source the right advice and support: “When recruiting a trainee it may well be necessary to visit four different websites just to find out how to do it, and access the grants and financial support that’s on offer,” continues Ruth. “The NFRC Roofing Careers Service brings all that information together in one place and presents it in a logical and easily navigable order, making it an invaluable resource for the time-poor tradesperson. For employers, that includes job descriptions, basic financial planning templates, advice on employment contracts, and links to funding opportunities.”

Once you’ve got the right people in place it’s now harder than ever to keep them and here again the NFRC portal will be able to help: “One very worrying statistic is that 40 per cent of the people who begin a college-based construction course don’t actually go on to work in the industry. Attitudes to employment are changing, with Millennials now far more prepared to take radical shifts in their career path at any time in their working lives. Regardless of the sector, the job market is currently candidate led and, if they are to stay within the sector, that means properly mentoring young people. That’s a function of the site we’ll be looking to grow much further in the future, with all the avenues for continuous professional development signposted, including setting up your own business.”

In addition, relevant case studies focusing on individual success stories will demonstrate the diverse range of opportunity within roofing, and communicate a much-needed positive image. Similarly, a parents’ section will address some of the negative stereotypes that have bedeviled the building trades and seek to dispel them. If an NFRC member is need of more bespoke and tailored support, Ruth and her team are on hand to talk to individual employers and address specific challenges directly.

A part of Ruth’s role is also to bring together employers and educators in order to deliver what the industry needs and here again she outlines just how much work needs to be done: “There are currently only 10 training providers in England offering roofing apprenticeships compared to over 200 for carpentry & joinery. In addition, of those 10 roofing trainers, not all of them are providing courses in the different specialisms, such as waterproof membranes. That’s why we need employers and education providers to work together to make sure that the right skills are emerging from the system. Not only that, many colleges who want to provide the right training, and have the roofing rigs to do it, but they often have issues with finding the tutors to take the courses.”

With over 80 per cent of NFRC members in the SMEs category facilitating their recruitment functions will clearly have an impact on the numbers of new roofers coming into the industry. “There’s loads of small local firms who want to do the right thing and take on an apprentice – and value the idea of how a young person on the payroll – but simply don’t know how,” argues Ruth. “The NFRC Roofing Careers Service is there to help them do just that.”

The NFRC Roofing Careers Service is completely free to use and is open to both NFRC members and non-members alike.

The Careers Service is split into the following categories:

  • First steps on the ladder (getting in) – this is aimed at young people and their influencers, providing them with clear careers advice, encouragement, and signposting.
  • Holding the ladder for others (employers’ portal)  this is aimed at employers to help them to build their businesses, take on an apprentice or trainee, and recruit in an inclusive way.

Later in the year, two extra sections on career progression (Climbing the ladder) and leadership and other professional roles (Rooftops) will be launched.

For further information on the NFRC Careers Service visit

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