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Pre-apprenticeship Training for Roofers
Guidelines for Mentors and Coaches

The Program

Representatives the Canadian Roofing Contractors Associations (CRCA) and the Canadian Council of Sheet Metal Workers & Roofers (CCSMW&R) at SMARTHINC(1)  have developed a national pre-apprenticeship program for roofers.  The program is in two parts.  First, it describes a one-day orientation program for new workers.  Second, it sets out fundamental work experience and skills that a worker should receive during the first season in the trade.  Workers in the program will track their training, work experience and hours in a log book and, in some provinces, this may qualify the worker for credit in the early stages of an apprenticeship program.

Why Pre-apprenticeship?

The national pre-apprenticeship program is a common sense approach to introducing new workers to roofing.  The program addresses a number of industry issues like the emerging shortage of entry-level workers and competition with other industries and trades for new recruits.  Pre-apprenticeship will become a widely regarded symbol of the investment that employers are making in workers and the opportunities for a career in roofing.

At its core, however, the program describes a process of orientation and coaching that is natural to most employers and their supervisors.  Contractors and workers designed the program with the idea that most learning takes place on the job.   It is also true that crucial habits are learned in the first weeks and months of work.

This is the day-to-day reality in the trade.  As supervisors, team leaders and journey persons, you are regularly expected to oversee the work of junior and younger workers.  The pre-apprenticeship part of the program simply tracks the steps that are normally part of this process.  Keeping records helps workers to track their progress and helps employers recognize emerging skills and attitudes.

Being a Mentor / Trainer

Keeping a logbook that records the worker's progress is a central point of the program.  Supervisors, team leaders or journey-persons will be called on to record the progress of participating workers.  Each of these leaders will already have a style and manner for coaching.  The program sets these practices down for the record, referring employers and coaches to many tried and true systems.

As a coach working with the pre-apprentices in the system, it is expected that you will have had experience training young workers.  Your coaching should include the basic elements set out in the attached “Guidelines for Workplace Coaching Skills”.  If you are asked to coach a member of the pre-apprenticeship program you should consult this document.  If the practices noted there are not familiar to you, you are referred to the many courses on coaching and mentoring that are offered across Canada.  Some of these are listed in the paper “Guidelines for Workplace Coaching Skills”.  It is a responsibility of journeypersons to teach new roofers the skills of the trade.


Coaching a new roofer in safety and basic work skills is truly a “win-win” situation.  Properly trained entrants add to productivity, know when to get out of the way and avoid accidents.  Other team members can rely on the new member to help when needed and make the work go more quickly.  Employers move closer to a systematic pattern of human resource management that reduces turnover, increases safety and raises productivity.

For further information, please call:
Bob Brunet, Canadian, Roofing Contractors’ Association (CRCA)    1-800-461-2722
Bob White, Canadian Council of Sheet Metal Workers & Roofers    1-866-684-7413

1.  The Sheet Metal and Roofing Training and Human Resources National Committee (SMARTHINC) has nineteen members selected from all provinces and from union and non-union employment.  A Roofing Task Committee of 26 specialists designed the pre-apprenticeship program with support from Prism Economics and Analysis.