NFRC helps Renfrewshire school introduce SCQF roofing course

NFRC helps Renfrewshire school introduce SCQF roofing course

As part of its long-term commitment to upskilling the industry and training the next generation of roofing operatives, NFRC has provided a grant and other support to a Renfrewshire school, for the establishment of a course in Plain Roof Tiling: with a number of its member companies offering sponsorship in kind, along with logistical help.

Johnstone High School draws its 900 students from a catchment area covering Johnstone and the surrounding areas of Howwood, Kilbarchen and Lochwinnoch, where 41% of the youngsters reside within Scotland’s most deprived postcodes.

While the school offers a wide range of qualifications and other opportunities - including National Qualifications, Skills for Work and Foundation Apprenticeships - when first introduced, Construction Skills (NPA (2022-23)) was limited to Bench Joinery, Colour Theory and Personal Development, and did not offer students sufficient choice.

Johnstone High School’s Principal Teacher of Technical, Jaclyn Smith, recounted: “Although the first year was supportive of improving pupils’ knowledge of the construction industry, there were barriers to attainment in that the literacy demand involved with the units was high, while the practical engagement was quite low. And unfortunately, this led to many of our learners not achieving a full course award as they were not able to complete all of the units.”

Happily, help was at hand when NFRC’s National Accounts Manager, Steve Laurence learned of the issue through a personal contact who works at the school, and he got in touch with Colin McCorquodale, Vice President of NFRC and a director of Glasgow-based contractor, Archibald McCorquodale & Sons.

NFRC helps Renfrewshire school introduce SCQF roofing course

Following conversations with Jaclyn Smith and the school’s management, Colin subsequently applied for an ‘inclusion grant’ from NFRC’s Charitable Trust. Meanwhile, Steve set about identifying NFRC supplier members that were in a position to provide the necessary materials for the students to practice with, with the aim of adding a Plain Roof Tiling unit to the syllabus.

A training rig was built by one of Archibald McCorquodale’s own apprentices, Eddie Brady, to a design which would be easy for the school to store away when not in use.

Paslode Spit (ITW Construction Products) supplied the timber for the building of the rig. SIG Roofing supplied a range of roofer’s tools including hammers, saws, measuring tapes, and slate cutters. Marley Ltd provided quantities of plain tiles and timber battens.

With the second term now halfway through, the school has been delighted with the investment in equipment as well as time spent on training and offering advice. It has enabled the school to not only customise its workshop and upskill staff to create an effective learning environment, but also gain attainment for learners and offer them improved pathway opportunities.

Jaclyn Smith said: “Through the introduction of Plain Roof Tiling and a Painting Techniques unit, we have seen a dramatic change in accessibility to the course. Learners are engaged and have seen success through the practical application of knowledge. As it stands, we are on track for all learners to achieve a full course award at SCQF Level 5 in Construction skills. Meaning they are more qualified, confident, and experienced to enter the world of work.

“We were only able to offer this through working in direct partnership with NFRC, Archibald McCorquodale & Sons, Paslode, SIG Roofing, and Marley.”

Reactions from the students to the course: “I find it hard to learn from just sitting and reading a book, working practically makes it easier and gives you a better grasp of what you’re meant to do. I enjoyed working on the rig, realised there were more aspects to construction and understood more about the steps it takes to build a house.” - S5 Construction Pupil, Ewan.

“I didn’t know much about construction before, I just thought it was mostly woodwork. Doing the roofing and painting units made me think a bit more about it and realise it’s a wider industry. I’m now looking into college courses and roofing is one of my choices at West College Scotland for next year.” – S5 Construction Pupil, Bohbi.

Colin McCorquodale, added: “As a company we were delighted to help enable the school to deliver this course. Introducing young people to the benefits of pursuing a career in our industry is of the utmost importance in strengthening the roofing industry for the future. It was especially pleasing that one of our apprentices assisted with the preparation for the course.”

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