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Ploughcroft calls for colleges to upskill

Hipperholme-based Ploughcroft has developed its own eco-roof apprenticeship scheme

Chris Hopkins

Construction colleges risk being left behind in the fast-moving roofing industry, it is claimed.

The majority of students leaving construction colleges to seek work this summer will be “untrained and unprepared” for the energy-saving building techniques demanded by consumers, according to Chris Hopkins, divisional director of Hipperholme-based energy efficiency roofing specialist Ploughcroft.

Mr Hopkins said the company had developed its own apprenticeship scheme to provide trainees with the skills and knowledge needed for the fast-growing energy efficiency industry.

He said that the current college curriculum “quite rightly” covered the basic roofing installation essentials – but failed when it came to incorporating “crucial” energy efficient-related skill sets, such as U-value calculations, condensation risk analysis and heat-loss monthly savings.

That meant companies such as Ploughcroft, which has its a own Eco-Roof product, were unable to find suitably qualified staff – further exacerbating the industry-wide skills shortage.

Mr Hopkins, who is calling for course and curriculum planners to address the issue, said: “Over the past three years, we have seen a rapid growth in our Eco-Roof business as energy prices continue to rise and customers become increasingly clued-up when it comes to greener living and the impact it can have on their energy bills.

“However, while consumer demand rises, colleges simply aren’t keeping up. Given there was no existing eco roof apprenticeship scheme in place that covered the type of specialist work we carry out, we’ve been trialling and created our own using my professional teaching and roofing assessor qualifications.

“That said, we can only do so much and today’s apprentices are the people who will drive the energy efficiency industry forward in years to come. As such it is absolutely essential that colleges – and other construction businesses – continue to evolve and invest in skills and development.”

Ploughcroft’s two-year Eco-Roof apprenticeship offers a mix of on-the-job training and classroom-based learning spanning traditional roofing as well as a wide range of energy-efficient construction techniques required to meet the needs of the fast-growing eco-construction sector.

It is seeking graduates to join its Eco-Roof apprenticeship scheme. Visit www.ploughcroft.co.uk

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