How to attract young people to the roofing profession?
This is question we have often asked ourselves, and over the years we have tried our best to attract young people to work as part of our industry.
Here at West Country Tiling we take on young people as apprentices aged between 16 and 19. They are usually young men (no women have applied yet!) who are straight out of school and are looking for a job… that’s it, a job that pays them money. Although they will have made a considered choice about which trade they want to learn, they have no real idea of the job satisfaction that comes from this work.
Apprenticeships for young people
The apprentices we take on study for two-years to gain NVQ Level 2 qualification in Roof Slating and Tiling at South Devon College.
Before they start this course, we expect them to work for us for at least a year so that they know exactly what they are committing themselves to.
Sadly, most of these young men don’t stick it out, often not even lasting a year. We recently had an 18-year-old apprentice, who had been working for us for 2 months, resign because he expected take home pay of £400.00 a week! It appears that the gap between reality and expectations has become magnified in recent years. Is this because of misinformation that they glean from the internet?
We should point out that the apprentices at West Country Tiling are not paid the prescribed apprentice wage, but instead are paid above the minimum wage for their age.
What the job entails
Our Master Craftsmen are extremely experienced and specialist artisans. When you replace the roof on a 15th century Grade I listed church, you need to be attuned to the history of the building and sympathetic to the importance of taking great care and pride in your work.
The practicalities of the job are that you need to be alright with heights, not afraid of a full day’s graft, often in wet and cold conditions in the winter and baking heat in the summer, and be keen to get stuck in.
What a career in roofing means
One of our Mastermen has worked for us for 47 years! That’s a career for life and he’s still learning new aspects and fine tuning his work on every job he does.
Do not underestimate the level of satisfaction our craftsmen get from completing a complex roof. We don’t want to knock other careers, but data entry or shelf stacking will not give the same feeling!
Not only does a career in roofing mean that you gain a qualification, you’re forever learning and improving your skills, you are part of a close knit team and you stay very fit from the physicality of the job. We offer the chance for career progression and personal development and we only ask for two things in in return, show up and work hard.
Why work with us?
If you’re a young person living in the Somerset area and are interested in joining our apprenticeship scheme, please send your name, phone number, age, location and any relevant experience to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back.