Sharing knowledge is the best way to keep experience in the industry alive.
Everyone has their part to play in making sure that as an industry roofing is equipped with the skills and tools it needs to meet its potential.
The good thing is that we are responding to the challenge – everywhere you look you can see people and organisations from all corners of the industry doing their bit; manufacturers are offering in-depth training in the use of their products and offering product innovations such as Hambleside’s and Alutec’s easy fit systems (meaning you don’t need years of experience or training to use them) and Trade Bodies such as TrustMark and Skillbuild are promoting best practice, training and development.
Of course it doesn’t stop there – merchants’ product knowledge, built up over the years also plays its part with product demo days and training opportunities. In addition to that, colleges – as the lifeblood of the industry, need our support through skill and knowledge sharing and financial support – with free materials from the likes of Klober and SIGA Natural Slate. It’s clear people are making a huge effort to bridge the gap and make the roofing industry the best it can be. However, as brilliant as all these developments are, we should remember that some of the deepest and most valuable knowledge and experience is already out there working on roofs day in day out.
THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE
All the training, product innovation and Trade Bodies in the world are no replacement for on the job experience and guidance from roofers who have been in the industry for years. Roofing is full of contractors who are extremely knowledgeable and experienced and who can guide younger workmates to make the right decisions. From setting up on site to choosing the best materials for the job, the voice of experience can point us in the right direction in a range of situations, including:
- Best procedure to follow when reviewing a potential job
- Dealing with new customers
- Working safely
- Working with the correct tools
- What to look for in the characteristics of a material and spotting damage and flaws
- How to work with materials
- Build up process in all materials
- Weather considerations
- Working with other trades
- Local aesthetic considerations
And of course, pride in one’s work!
The sharing of knowledge that’s been earnt through many years on the job goes way beyond just plugging a skills gap. It’s the kind of on the job support, experience and training that’s one of the most important tools to becoming a professional in the industry. It’s the difference between being a jobbing contractor, to being a professional – creating a business that is sustainable and grows and which in turn offers careers for the younger generation.
The result is good workmanship that ensures our roofs perform and add to the aesthetic character of their surroundings. These are all essential ingredients if we are to keep improving the reputation of construction, attract young people into the profession, create award winning structures and grow the industry as a whole. There’s a saying ‘With great knowledge comes great responsibility.’ It’s a cliche for a reason: it’s true.