The search is on for the Redland and Icopal Apprentices of the Year

Following the huge success of its inaugural event in 2017, Redland has announced the launch of the 2018 Apprentice of the Year: but with an ‘important twist’. Redland has joined forces with sister BMI Group company, Icopal, the flat roofing business. Together they will offer two apprentice awards: one for pitched roofing and one for flat.

February 1 and May 4, 2018, are the opening and closing dates respectively for entries. The competition is open to all roofing apprentices currently enrolled with a participating college or training group*, or employed by a member of the Intelligent Membrane Association or Team Icopal**. Other employers wishing to enter an apprentice should contact their training provider and encourage them to link up with the BMI Student Support Programme, through which these awards are being delivered.

The key theme for picking this year’s finalists will be ‘Motivation’ – whereby entrants are being asked to communicate what motivated them to enter the roofing industry; how they motivate themselves and those around them at college and at work; or to describe a person who has motivated them to succeed.

Candidates will then be selected for the final, which takes place over two days at the BMI National Training Centre in Gloucestershire. Finalists will receive professional coaching on all aspects of running a roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills – before being assessed, making this a complete learning experience.

A selection of leading figures in the roofing industry will be judging the candidates. They will also take part in ‘knowledge-sharing sessions’ over the course of the two days to answer questions and share the benefits of their experience to help pass the baton on to this next generation of roofers.

The two-day final will culminate in the Apprentice of the Year awards dinner – consisting of the finalists, their tutors and employers, and judges – where the winners of the 2018 competition will be announced.

At stake is a £2,000 cash prize – £1,000 for each category – to invest in the future, the title of Redland Apprentice of the Year 2018 or Icopal Apprentice of the Year 2018, together with a trophy, a lifetime supply of free-of-charge courses at the group’s National Training Centre and a prize pack containing ‘high-quality roofing swag’. All finalists will receive access to a selection of free courses at the BMI National Training Centre and also take away a prize pack full of ‘roofing goodies’.

Mat Woodyatt, Redland technical training manager, explained: “Skills shortages are a pressing issue across construction as a whole; yet perhaps most keenly felt in roofing. These shortages hinder recruitment, and national building capacity – and if not properly addressed, in time the sector will grind to a halt. These awards are part of a group strategy to recognise and reward those coming into the industry; as part of wider initiatives to raise the appeal of roofing and motivate more youngsters and career-changers to get involved.”

Andy King, president of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) and chair of the judging panel, said of last year’s event: “The competition itself took all of the trainees outside of their comfort zone, and as a judge it was interesting to witness the individual way they adapted to the various challenges. All the competitors benefited from the experience and each of them took something away and will hopefully use it to further their careers.”

*The following are enrolled in the Young Redland Roofer student support programme:

  1. Bolton College
  2. Cornwall College, St Austell
  3. Eastern Roof Training Group
  4. Edinburgh College
  5. Leeds College of Building
  6. National Construction College (NCC) Midlands
  7. NCC Erith
  8. Newcastle College
  9. South West Roof Training Group
  10.  Wales National Roof Training Group
  11.  South Lanarkshire College
  12.  Dundee and Angus College

**Intelligent Membrane Association: