Redland’s roofing Apprentice of the Year

Published:  07 July, 2017

Somerset’s Joe Stradling has won the title of Redland Apprentice of the Year against stiff competition as one of ten of the country’s best roofing apprentices. In a West Country double, Cornishman Tom Knight was awarded Highly Commended.

Joe, who works West Country Tiling in Frome, has won a £1,000 cash prize to invest in the future, the title of Redland Apprentice of the Year 2017, a trophy, and a lifetime supply of free-of-charge courses at the Redland National Training Centre.

Winner Joe said: “The competition was really good but it wasn’t what I’d expected and took me and everyone else out of our comfort zone. It really boosted my confidence and taught me skills that I would need to run my own business, presentation particularly.”

As Joe’s tutor, Alan King of NCC South points out, the competition was not simply to reward roofing skills but also to highlight the industry’s future leaders and entrepreneurs.

He said: “This fantastic initiative wasn’t a skills test but was about the lads applying themselves and learning to present themselves as young businessmen. I saw lads that were shy to begin with but by the end they were confident enough to give a 10 minute presentation in front of a room full of people they’d never met before.”

Joe and Tom are the cream of a crop chosen from building colleges throughout England and Wales and they come from all manner of backgrounds, proving the attractions of a skilled trade in construction.

The competition is part of a strategy by Redland to address the challenges faced by the industry in meeting the ambitious government housing targets. The sector must recruit 700,000 more people to replace those retiring or moving on, plus an extra 120,000 if the government’s aim to build one million new homes by 2020 is to be achieved.

David Patrick, Redland’s Head of Marketing said: “We recognise the need to ensure new joiners to the industry receive the necessary levels of support that they need to develop and succeed which is why we launched this programme.”

The final took place over two days – 27th and 28th June – at the Redland National Training Centre. Finalists will receive professional coaching on all aspects of running a roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills – before being assessed, making this a complete learning experience.

A selection of leading figures in the roofing industry judged the candidates and participated in “knowledge-sharing sessions” over the course of the two days. In these the apprentices put questions to the panel, enabling the judges to this next generation of roofers the benefit of their experience.

The competition peaked with the Apprentice of the Year Awards Dinner – consisting of the 10 finalists, their tutors and employers, and judges.

The other eight finalists in the Redland Apprentice of the Year competition were:

1. David Crank, Stanley, County Durham. Training with Newcastle College and apprentice to Hodgson Sayers.

2. Ben Kearns, Stoke-on-Trent. Training with NCC Midlands and apprentice to Novus Property Solutions.

3. Kieran Langhan, Selby, Yorkshire. Training with Leeds College of Building and apprentice to David Langhan Roofing Contractor.

4. Gavin Metson, Chelmsford, Essex. Training with Eastern Region Roof Training Group and apprentice to Avonside.

5. Ceiran Peel-Price, Irby, Wirral, Merseyside. Training with Bolton College and apprentice to Les Perry Roofing Contractors.

6. Liam Smy, Ipswich, Suffolk. Training with Eastern Region Roof Training Group and apprentice to Scofield & Lait.

7. Moy Trott, Tonypandy, Wales. Training with Wales National Roof Training Group and apprentice to Trottsco.

8. Ollie Young, Bath. Training with Cornwall College and apprentice to Young’s Roofing.

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