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Leading the way

by Matt Downs

Finalists Shane White of SW Leadworks and Ashley Saxton of Saxton Specialist Leadwork will be vying for the Leadworker of the Year 2019 title at this year’s Award Ceremony. The competition, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by the Lead Sheet Training Academy, which specialises in training those using lead or hard metals in the construction industry.
It was open to both self-employed leadworkers and those working for contractors.

Commenting on the standard of the competition this year, the LSTA’s General Manager Nick DuGard said: “We were delighted to stage the LSTA Leadworker of the Year competition this year and the response from entrants was fantastic. The skills test over the two days was exacting but the standard of work was extremely high. The first test included bossing an outlet and on the second day the competition ramped up with a test to deliver a piece of work with double-break corners.”

Ashley, 26, was said to be “over the moon” to receive a letter informing him that he had been shortlisted for the award. Having worked in the sector for around seven years, he has always valued opportunities to expand his skillset. He originally started a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Roofing Occupations back in 2013 and, having achieved that, is currently studying for a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Heritage Skills at the LSTA; skills that he believes will set him up for life. Now applying his specialist leadworking skills on sites across London and Kent, he hopes to continue learning and working in the sector for the foreseeable future before potentially training others.

Shane, 30, is based in Somerset. Having studied carpentry at college, he soon made the switch to leadwork, initially working with family. With his grandfather being a blacksmith and his uncle having worked with lead, metalwork is something that he feels “almost runs in my blood”. He hasn’t looked back since: he now runs his own business and has a true passion for lead roofing, saying that he loves his work.

The winner will be announced at the Roofing Awards on 10 May.


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