Background Briefing for School Boards and Career Counselors
Roofing contractors are a traditional first employer for many young Canadians. Roofing work pays well, requires physical strength and is an opportunity for summer work as well as a long term career. Young people are naturally attracted to this opportunity to work out-of-doors and earn extra income.
The roofing industry has been increasing its investment in workers as the complexity of roofing systems increases and more skill is needed. Attracting and retaining the best qualified and motivated people is a priority.
A national committee of employers and labour representatives has designed a new roofing pre-apprenticeship program to answer many labour market challenges. The industry is seeking the support of the school systems and career counselors in attracting young people into the program.
The program has three immediate objectives. First, it makes the young worker aware of roofing as a career. Participants are encouraged to understand how roofing systems work and how they contribute to the overall construction process. They join a team of craftspeople who have a tradition of pride in their work. Mentor / coaches are assigned to each pre-apprentice to provide close supervision and “hands on” training.
Second, the program emphasizes safety. Orientation programs teach the basics before the workers actually go on the construction site. Safety training continues during the workers first season on the job. Employers understand that this is a priority and reflects growing attention to safety by provincial regulators.
Third, the program targets increasing the number of apprentices and certified roofers in the work force.
The roofing industry believes that increased apprenticeship registration and more certified workers are essential to meeting labour market issues. Young workers are encouraged from the start to seek the highest qualifications and work standards. The pre-apprenticeship qualifications will help workers find new jobs in the industry and move across provinces. Work experience and training may be recognized and credited to the requirements of first year in the apprenticeship program.
Young roofers have the option of moving on to apprenticeship and journey person status. Within five years of starting, workers are often earning more than some university graduates. Because workers earn regular wages while they learn the trade, most are free of debt as they start their careers. Many roofing contractors employ their teams all year. Where work is seasonal, many roofers gain additional qualifications or earn extra income during the winter.
Entry-level roofers can work on industrial and commercial projects as well as residential shingling. Many go on to apprentice, receive their certificate of qualification and build a career as a journey-person, supervisor, foreman, estimator, salesperson and owner. CRCA members participate in this pre-apprenticeship program and take pride in their investment in human resources.
The industry needs the assistance of teachers and career counselors to identify young people with the necessary qualifications and aptitudes. Pre-apprenticeship offers valuable supervision, recognition and attention to safety. Please contact your local Roofing Contractors Association or SMWIA local to help us start young people in a promising career.
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