In 2009, Lesley Hughes joined the WNRTG as the organisation’s Training Officer, with a remit to transform the industry and plug a gap in the market for specialist roofing training across a range of disciplines.
For the first few years, the organisation gathered momentum and membership through general group training opportunities such as Health & Safety and First Aid, ensuring a level of basic compliance across the board, before opening the conversation up to the industry about what was needed to move their business’ forward.
Guided by membership demand, in 2014 Lesley applied for further funding from the CITB to expand into specialist training programmes for apprentices and added the SAP NVQ2 in Slating & Tiling to their arsenal of learning opportunities.
During the process of setting up the courses and developing their membership, the WNRTG developed a symbiotic relationship with SERS Ltd in Caerphilly, a leading provider of energy saving solutions and began utilising their excellent training facilities to expand and enhance the range of courses and skills available. In January 2018, WNRTG signed a 3 year lease to run operations from the SERS facilities, enabling them to further develop the facilities to provide and provide an even better learning experience.
In April 2018, Lesley’s hard work resulted in a raft of successful tenders to deliver SAP training courses in Wales and Derbyshire, including Heritage Roofing training in slating and tiling at NVQ Level 3.
To date, WNRTG has supported 36 fully qualified young people into the industry from their purpose-built facilities.
Membership of the WNRTG brings enormous benefits to the industry, including up to date standards, information and access to funding, as well as the cutting-edge industry training and networking opportunities. Lesley also works tirelessly to ensure that all companies that form part of the WNRTG benefit from her own knowledge and skills in terms of business support, helping them to access CITB funding for training and placements.
Since the group was formed, Lesley has directly supported 20 roofing companies to access training grants and actively helped them to develop and grow new markets - opening doors for these indigenous Welsh businesses.
“It’s our 10 year anniversary next year (2019) and we are really keen to improve our training programmes to meet industry needs. We really want to improve the SAP Programmes and work with new industry partners to develop new areas of expertise.”
“We and our members are looking forward to working on the RoofCert project with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, who have secured further £3.1m from CITB to upskill and certify the whole industry. This is an ambitious project and we are looking forward to more success stories in 2019.”
In June 2019, WNRTG are planning to hold a celebration event to recognise the achievements of those who have completed training and become part of Wales’ fastest growing construction industry sector.
“We are really looking forward to showcasing the young people and those companies who have really helped to drive the industry forward through their commitment and ambition. We hope to get some of the young people into the ‘Go Construct SkillBuild’ competition in 2019 to really show how well they are doing.”
The Wales National Roofing Training Group is all about its members – in 2019 Lesley hopes to increase membership numbers as new companies are identified and take the industry to the next level.
“Programmes such as Construction Futures Wales are vital to support the industry and help us to provide essential information to our members. Any information we can use that helps the industry is key to its success.”
“With our connection to the roofing industry we are in a great position to pass on information and opportunities that help our members to grow. Construction Futures Wales fills a gap in the industry for specialist business support and information which is critical for their ongoing development.”