The sky’s the limit for four Bolton College roofing apprentices, who went head to head to be named ‘Apprentice of the Year.’
The North West Roof Training Group Apprentice of the Year Competition was a collaboration between the College’s roofing department and The North West Roof Training Group, a non-profit training organisation that enhances, improves and provides training for roofing contractors throughout the North West.
The College, which is part of the University of Bolton Group and one of only three roofing Apprenticeship providers in the whole of England, selected the apprentices based on performance in class.
Ben Page from Together Housing; Joe Moore from T M Roofing Service; Lloyd Sayers from Howarth Roofing Services; and Sam Hill from R. L. Lovatt were tasked with creating a slate open valley into a bedded hip, using materials generously donated by Welsh Slate and Midland Lead.
Claire Griffiths, editor of Roofing Today magazine, and Stewart Rowles, a highly-respected columnist and roofing industry blogger, were invited to judge the competition.
Claire Griffiths said: “The work was to such a high standard. These apprentices are very impressive young men, and a credit to the outstanding teaching they are receiving in College.”
Stewart Rowles, who specialises in heritage restoration work, said: “As a judge, I looked at the small things – the measuring, laying out and accuracy of the work, as well as the apprentices’ roofing knowledge.”
Ben Page was named Apprentice of the Year, after impressing judges with his precise work.
Ben, 32, previously worked as a labourer, before progressing to a career in roofing. He said: “I’m buzzing to win, I can’t wait to take my trophy home to show my little boy.
“I’ve also been invited to an awards meal at the College, celebrating the success of students, so that should be a good night.”
Sue Wharton, Group Training Officer at North West Roof Training Group, said: “It was such a joy to be part of this event.
“Apprentices are the lifeblood of the roofing industry, and I really believe that this roofing department is the jewel in the crown of Bolton College.
“Due to housing and construction developments, 400 more roofers are needed in the North West by 2022, so it’s an exciting industry to get into; the demand is there and an experienced roofer can expect to earn £800 per week. Many roofers I know have progressed to supervisors or site managers, or work as estimators.”
Luke O’Gorman, a College Roofing Lecturer who helped organise the competition, said: “Congratulations to Ben, he showed commitment and skill, and has a promising future ahead of him.
“I’d like to thank Welsh Slate and Midland Lead for sponsoring the competition, and Claire Griffiths and Stewart Rowles for judging. It’s great to see the industry getting behind young roofers.
“Finally, I’d like to thank Sue Wharton from North West Roof Training Group. Working alongside Sue organising this competition is always a pleasure – her love of the sector really does shine through.”
Interested in a Roofing Apprenticeship with Bolton College? Click here.