Investment sends Russell Roof Tiles back to school

A Lochmaben-based roof tile manufacturer has invested in its employees’ future and development through a new partnership with the Barony campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Dumfries.

Investment sends Russell Roof Tiles back to school

Bruce Laidlaw

Russell Roof Tiles began working with SRUC in 2016, in order to provide staff at its 11-acre Halleaths site with the perfect foundation to develop into maintenance fitters, through theory and practice.

At a time when it is increasingly difficult to recruit experienced maintenance fitters, the partnership allows Russell Roof Tiles’ employees to undertake a full-time one-year Higher National Certificate course in Engineering, while completing further on-site training at the manufacturer’s factory, allowing them to develop skills and competency on roof tile processes. The college also provides further distance learning and ‘on-the-job’ support, when the course is completed, to encourage further development.

Five out of 55 operators at Russell Roof Tiles have already benefitted from the significant investment. Kyran Jackson, Jack Jones, Ross Richardson, Jamie Livingstone and Keven McCall are all undertaking training and working to become fully qualified.

Bruce Laidlaw, production director at Russell Roof Tiles, said: “The construction industry is currently experiencing its largest skills gap to date, which has had a knock-on-effect on recruiting maintenance fitters.

“As a result, Russell Roof Tiles needed to be innovative in recruitment. We needed to invest in our own staff’s development and demonstrate engineering as a successful career path – the partnership with SRUC’s Barony campus allowed us to do just that. It has already seen excellent success with our employees progressing to become fully-qualified and we hope to continue to roll out a programme of development and work with the college in the future.”

Doug Goldie, senior engineering instructor at SRUC’s Barony campus, said: “Two of SRUC’s core strengths are our strong ties with industry and our ability to support differing combinations of college-based and work-based learning to suit individual learner and employer needs.

“We are delighted to be working closely with Russell Roof Tiles as part of our wider programme of education and training for Scotland’s rural workforce. Under the guidance of Dave Ritchie, the Russell Roof Tiles operators have learned invaluable engineering skills which will benefit not only themselves and their employer, but also the industry as a whole.”

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