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RCI December 2017

THE ENVELOPE Recruitment, retention and building skills for the future of roofing The built environment is hugely By James Talman, chief executive of the National Federation of fragmented. For centuries, companies and individuals have come together solely for the purpose of specific projects before going their separate ways. The roofing sector is one part of this big jigsaw but like many other pieces to the puzzle, it is starting to embrace the idea of “collaboration” which was the focus of the NFRC Suppliers’ Conference event last month. It was also this idea of “working together” which led to plans to create an industry accreditation which aims to protect and support the growth of the sector now and in the future. What is it? The certification is the result of collaboration between the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). It aims to improve efficiency, upskill the workforce, encourage the use of new technology and attract new talent. The latter is particularly relevant in today’s climate. After all, the built environment is in the grips of an extreme skills shortage – a problem which surfaced during the financial crisis when 300,000 people left the industry. Kickstarted back to growth by the Government’s 020 RCIMAG.COM DECEMB ER 2017 Help to Buy programme, the sector found it no longer had enough people to do the work – and it’s been struggling ever since. In roofing we have recognised for quite some time that we are faced with an ageing workforce. We are also aware that there is a shortage of new blood entering the industry and this is coupled with a poor perception of the career paths on offer. Therefore, we urgently need to address recruitment and retention as well as build skills for the future. In short, we want to make sure roofing contractors have the support they need to operate efficiently and confidently as recognized professionals. This will be managed through the accreditation process. Collaboration is key The NFRC and the CITB have united to make this a possibility but the collaboration will go beyond this. As Mark Noonan, industry relations director of the CITB points out, working in partnership will “ensure that employers and clients benefit from an accredited workforce”, and that “the scheme benefits would be supported across all specialist federations, professional training providers and other relevant stakeholders.” This is backed up by Jon Vanstone, chair of the Competent Person Forum and Trade Association Forum who will direct the programme of delivery for the accreditation. He said: “With engagement across the board it could change the perception of a career in roofing and encourage more people into the sector. “It could also mean that we are not just actively recruiting but we are recruiting individuals who know what they are doing.” Facing the future The accreditation scheme sets out to create 5,000 accredited roofers in a four-year period. But its scope is much greater than this. After all, the stakes have never been higher. Our industry can only survive – and thrive – if best practice filters down through the sector. And this accreditation could protect the future of roofing and enhance its reputation for a new generation of roofers. www.nfrc.co.uk Roofing Contractors James Talman: “We are also aware that there is a shortage of new blood entering the industry and this is coupled with a poor perception of the career paths on offer. Therefore, we urgently need to address recruitment and retention as well as build skills for the future” Left, NFRC CEO James Talman announces the new accreditation scheme for the roofing sector at the NFRC’s Suppliers’ Conference. Above: James Talman and Jon Vanstone, chair of the Competent Person Forum and Trade Association Forum


RCI December 2017
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