Seemingly unglamorous in nature, plying your trade, maintaining and fixing roofs may seem like an antiquated career path. However you can make the argument that now is the best time to enter the trade. Skilled manual labourers are at a real shortage in the UK, and with an increased demand for building services in the last 12 months that trend looks sure to continue.
Roofers are in demand for an array of reasons, all compounding at once to create a sector that is in desperate need of fresh talent. Firstly the impact of Brexit has led to a large number of EU nationals leaving the country, this has had knock on effects in the professions in which foreign workers were particularly prevalent. As well as construction this includes retail and hospitality.
Secondly is the natural knock on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resignations are at significant peaks, with the US and UK both seeing more of the workforce quitting than at any time in the previous decade. COVID related absences have also put further strain and meant that jobs are not being cleared as quickly as was previously possible.
It’s simple to blame recent factors like Brexit and COVID for the decrease in roofers, however it can also be attributed to the fact that the sector as less of an option to younger workers. Where roofing is a fairly physically demanding career, and can leave you exposed to the elements all year round, there are a considerable number of more comfortable alternatives for those finding their future job.
That being said, it has left those who do choose to work as roofers in a powerful situation. The cost of building work is being kept with demand, which means a roofer can now earn considerably more than a few years ago. There is a great financial opportunity for the right person in the industry, but how does someone go about becoming a roofer?
Getting started with qualifications to begin your career isn’t actually that hard. An NVQ level 2 in Roofing Occupations is usually accessible at a wide range of local colleges across the UK, from there it’s vital to continue to gain experience and accreditations where possible.
One option to help accelerate this process is the use of an apprenticeship. This has the advantage of not only on the job experience but also support in getting the relevant documentation which will give you a platform for a future career. As a minimum to begin working on site you will need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme membership, which allows you to train and work.
Further to this you will also benefit in the future with a RoofCERT National Roofing Accreditation. This is essentially an entryway into the UK’s only official accreditation, and can be a belier when tendering for commercial contacts.
Ensure You Are Legally Protected
Roofing is understandably a job that carries a higher degree of risk than other occupations. This risk comes in multiple forms including harm to yourself, others as well as property damage which can occur while working. Even working for yourself will require coverage so if an accident does happen you can continue to work without the financial impact of a legal claim.
Working at height means that both falling and dropping items are both common risks. At the inception of you starting to work as a roofer you need to acquire a variety of insurances to cover this and other common areas for claims. A reputable insurance broker will be able to provide you with roofer insurance.
Away from the construction site it’s usually a good idea to find a reliable accountant. This will help set the scene when it comes to submitting financial documents and ensuring that documentation is up to date and ready to submit for review when required.
Become Self Employed
Once you’re fully qualified and feel competent enough to go it alone then it’s time to become self-employed. Doing so is simple if you plan to operate as a sole trader. Once established a sole trader and their company are essentially the same, so it’s less complicated to get started.
If you’re planning on starting a limited company then things are a little more complex. It’s strongly advised you get an accountants help to get started in this case, with additional advice needed.