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Pre-apprenticeship Training for Roofers
Guidelines for Participating Employers

Contractors on the Roofing Task Committee of SMARTHINC(1)  and the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) have designed a national pre-apprenticeship program in roofing that is intended to benefit your business and the entire industry.  Employers face a shrinking pool of people with the aptitude required to become skilled roofers.  It is crucial to recruit, train and retain new entrants in the trade.  The pre-apprenticeship program sets out guidelines for training programs and mentoring practices that will help you recruit and retain new workers.

Your local roofing contractor association will provide you with all the information and support you need to get involved.  This will include access to groups who are promoting work in roofing and have contacts with young people looking for work.

Why Pre-apprenticeship?

Roofing has traditionally had a high rate of turnover among new workers while facing a high rate of accidents and associated costs.  Both these problems are addressed in a new pre-apprenticeship program.  The program provides you with training guidelines and help training your supervisory staff in mentoring.   Once implemented, the program will help you to recruit, train and retain the workers that you want and need.

The program is designed to attract, then screen new workers so that the best stay in the trade.  Many provinces are now requiring the safety training contained in the pre-apprenticeship plan and participating now puts you one step ahead.  This orientation and safety training can be recognized as part of the due diligence that is part of a contractor’s responsibility.  It is very likely that the industry as a whole will actually reduce costs with this program as lower turnover will increase productivity and improved safety will reduce costs.

Your provincial contractors association, with support from the CRCA and HRDC can assist you with training materials and classroom training for some of the components.

Pre-apprenticeship has been tried and proven in British Columbia.   The program has been reviewed by the best roofing trainers in Canada and reflects their input.  Every effort has been made to incorporate the best programs from across Canada.  There is no duplication with existing efforts and the program has been tailored to incorporate provincial regulations that apply in your area.

From the start the committee determined that the program would lead to apprenticeship and be:

Contractors, the trade unions and training departments in all provinces have been involved in the design.  National recognition allows you to screen out-of-province candidates easily and improves mobility of workers.   This will benefit the entire industry.

How to Participate

Each provincial roofing association has reviewed this plan and is ready to help you participate.  Participation will require a limited commitment of resources.  In particular, supervisors and team leaders in your firm will be called on to provide mentoring or coaching.  The success of the program depends on strong mentoring skills.  The Roofing Committee recommends that mentors have experience or formal course training of the type provided in “Workplace Coaching Skills”. More information is provided in the guidelines for Mentors / Coaches.  Provincial roofing contractor associations can provide you will needed training materials including:

Call your provincial Roofing Contractors Association or the Canadian Roofing Contractors’ Association at   1-800-461-2722.


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.