Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has visited the new Tiling and Slating Training Academy in Colchester, which has been developed by the GLA Group.

During the visit, on 28th September, Giles was welcomed by Andy Bird, Managing Director of the GLA Group, and heard how the Academy aims to get more young people into the roofing industry – the Academy was set up in direct response to the declining number of young people entering the industry, which has led to severe labour shortages.

The Academy offers intensive training courses for those with little or no experience in construction or roofing, and these courses are intended to be the first step to gaining NVQ and Blue Skilled CSCS qualifications. Courses are open to everyone, male or female, old or young, and give those that are looking for a long-term career or change of career the opportunity to learn not only the basic roofing skills, but also the product knowledge, the health and safety knowledge, and the ability to produce a written order for materials and written invoices.

Since it opened its doors to recruits in January 2018, the Academy has worked closely with local Pupil Referral Units, the Colchester Institute, ex-offenders, and Project Nova – an organisation that aims to help ex-service men and women re-train and re-join society. The Academy has received positive feedback from all those groups. The Academy are now looking for new recruits, especially from the Clacton area, where, like the rest of the UK, there is a need for additional tilers and slaters, with vacancies continuing to go unfilled.

Following the visit, Giles said:

“There is, unfortunately, a very real shortage of young people entering the roofing industry, even though there is a significant demand for skilled workers.  As the Government are planning to rapidly increase house building in the coming years, there is a real opportunity here for enterprising residents in the Clacton constituency to prosper, and I hope that they will make the best of it.”