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March 2018

Opinion ROOFING IS NOW A

Opinion ROOFING IS NOW A SAFE AND DESIRABLE CAREER CHOICE By Mark Hibberd, National Field Manager – Roofing at Sika If I was a school leaver considering my career options ahead of me, why would I choose to take a job in the roofing industry? At face value, it’s a decision that would see me spending the best part of my working life out in all weathers, doing a physically demanding role that can be dirty and unsafe. Most roofers when asked would probably not say they always aspired to be a roofer from a young age. Most roofers have fallen into the roofing industry by accident or default. So how can we encourage younger generations to embark on a career in roofing? Manufacturer training has improved significantly and is backed up by Trade Associations and national industry training boards to give each roofing operative a qualification, meaning recognition in the industry and the chance to progress however far they wish. Once an operative has a qualification and gains experience in the installation of different roofing systems, they become a prime target for manufacturers looking for Field Technicians to train in the use of their systems, products, and inspect installations to maintain high workmanship standards. Some may move into site supervision, contract management or chance their arm at starting up their own contracting organisation. Experienced installation operatives are much sought after – they do say you can’t teach experience. Working practices We can’t change the weather but we can change working practices. Health and safety protocols are at the forefront of any company’s strategy. Sites now have excellent welfare facilities, stringent PPE and place the emphasis on the safety of workers at all times. Products also have to meet or exceed strict guidelines, particularly when it comes to installation. “We can’t change the weather but we can change working practices” Left: Mark Hibberd, National Field Manager – Roofing at Sika Manufacturers, such as ourselves, are constantly reacting to feedback from operatives and changing installation techniques and products to mitigate the stress on the applicator. New products are designed to be far less demanding and cleaner to use than traditional methods. Spray technology has made major in-roads into most manufacturers’ portfolio of products which negates the need for site operatives to spread adhesives with rollers, brushes or squeegees and saving from future exo-skeletal problems. Selfadhered membranes are seen as a progressive way of installing single ply membranes for the same reasons, again with Sika leading the way. All this, combined, gives me such hope for the future of the industry. Long-term career opportunities The roofing industry is now safer, cleaner and less physically demanding than ever before and also offers more long-term career opportunities for young professionals than we’ve ever seen. This has helped draw more talented professionals into roofing, something we’re personally seeing through the Sika apprenticeships, industrial placements and internships. With more high quality roofing professionals using high quality products, the roofing industry will continue to deliver high quality roofing results for projects of all shapes and sizes up and down the country for many years to come. Contact Sika 01707 394444 gbr.sika.com @SikaLimited 48 TC MARCH 2018

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