Forster Roofing invests in next generation
The roofing and roof-integrated solar contractor, which is responsible for roofing one in five of Scotland’s new homes and is widely recognised for its commitment to developing young people, has recently invested in a new custom designed Skills Academy, which was opened to the first group of apprentices last month.
The Forster Academy, which is located in Brechin, Angus, is delivering a Modern Apprenticeship (NVQ) qualification in roofing, designed specifically for new-build housing. The two year integrated training programme supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC), combines on the job structured learning with contextualised off-site training.
“We are directly addressing the acute skills shortage in the construction industry by recruiting new entrants, up-skilling and qualifying our existing workforce,” explained Forster Group chairman, John Forster. “We recognise that our future success is dependent on investing in the skills of both our current and potential future employees. Next month we will be celebrating 25 years of delivering our roofing service to the Scottish house build market, and we see our new Skills Academy as a key part of our future.”
Forster human resources director, Maureen Douglas, said, “We are committed to taking on 24 apprentices over the next four years and are also preparing to launch a new specialist up-skilling programme which will re-qualify our entire workforce of 80 roofers to the ‘Forster Standard’.”
“The Forster apprenticeship programme works well because it covers such a wide range of roofing skills, including solar installation,” said Mark Murphy from Irvine, one of the current group of apprentices. “It trains us to deliver to the ‘Forster Standard’, giving us confidence that we’re working the smartest way.”
“It helps us become comfortable working with different products, preparing us to deal with the challenges we will face on-site,” added another apprentice, Jordan Boyle from Falkirk. “We also get to learn about other areas of the business including Purchasing and Surveying, helping us understand how projects come together.”
Forster trainer Lindsay Kemp has been roofing Scottish homes for over 25 years. “This new programme provides a fantastic opportunity for young people, equipping them with the necessary skills to make a successful career in roofing,” he commented. “I’m really enjoying the opportunity to train the next generation, driving forward industry quality and safety standards.”
Construction director Neil McIvor said: “We are currently developing our own ‘Forster Standard’. By wrapping up all the various industry standards and best practices into a single document, we’ll establish a benchmark for all our roofs and provide the quality standard for our industry.”