Leeds College of Building students Matthew Ford and Oscar Miller have been awarded the pitched and flat roofing BMI Apprentices of the Year.
The winners received a £1,000 cash prize for each of them to invest in their future, a trophy plus a goody bag of roofing tools and materials.
Speaking just after the prize giving, pitched Apprentice of the Year, Matthew Ford, who works for housing association Incommunities, said: “To win is amazing. I really thought winning was beyond me but I put in the good work and tried my hardest. Events like this, which promote roofing, make it a real trade and I’m so pleased to win.”
The flat roofing Apprentice of the Year, Oscar Miller, who works for Grimsby-based The Roofing Corporation, admitted to being a bit stunned: “I had to take a second because I thought I was being highly commended then realised I’d won. Disbelief but really, really happy to win such a big thing as the BMI Apprentice of the Year.”
Unlike other competitions which are largely hands-on, skills-based events, the BMI Apprentice of the Year tests ‘soft’ skills as well as technical knowledge. As such the finalists compete over two days participating in a series of presentations and assignments. These examine every facet of running their own roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills.
Judge Gary Walpole, health and safety officer at the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), said: “The contestants are taken out of their comfort zone by being forced to tackle ‘soft’ skills rather than the physical side of their trade. What impressed me so much is how they all grew in confidence, really focused on the job in hand and achieved things they probably thought were beyond them prior to the competition.”
Mat Woodyatt, BMI technical training manager, commented: “This has been a fantastic event, the second time we have held a competition to find the best in each of the two roofing disciplines: pitched and flat roofing. All the contestants deserve huge credit for their hard work and achievements. I know the judges looked long and hard at the scoring, deliberated at length about what marks to award and genuinely found it difficult to separate participants. However, in the end there can only be two winners, so heartfelt congratulations to Matthew and Oscar. Well done lads!”