Grants of up to £2000 are available help NFRC Members engage people from more diverse backgrounds in learning about the career opportunities available in roofing through initiatives such as insight days, site visits and online events.
The NFRC Charitable Trust has announced it has approved a new Inclusion Fund to support NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) Members to attract and retain diverse talent.
Grants are said to be available for activities including insight days, site visits and online events, to engage people from diverse backgrounds in learning about the career opportunities available in the roofing industry.
NFRC says the Inclusion Fund is a one year pilot funding/grant process, and Members who use the Fund are encouraged to focus their project on progression opportunities, rather than just participation — meaning the emphasis should be on quality experiences that can help lead to career opportunities or strong further interest, rather than simply getting large numbers of people to attend, with not much real engagement.
As is widely acknowledged, labour shortages and skills gaps are an ongoing issue in the roofing sector and the wider construction industry. Skills in roofing and cladding are in short supply — NFRC’s State of the Roofing Industry survey for Q1 of 2022 showed that over a third of firms were struggling to recruit slaters and tilers, with others struggling to hire cladders, lead workers and Built-up Felt roofers. CITB estimates that the construction industry as a whole will need to recruit 43,000 people every year up to 2025 in order to avoid a continued shortage.
NFRC points out that as not enough new entrants to the workforce choose roofing as a career path, it’s vital those in the sector make up-to-date and engaging opportunities available, but it’s also important to make sure that talented and enthusiastic people from all backgrounds have routes into the industry and feel welcome on-site or in the workplace.
NFRC says applications to the Inclusion Fund are welcomed from all Members, with applications for between £500 and £1000 welcome for insight days, site and employer visits, careers talks to local schools or community groups, and online or practical insight sessions. Grants of up to £2000 are also available for activities that might require more resources and investment, such as additional equipment and PPE, or training staff on diversity and inclusion, so that they’re ready to deliver insight activities.
Ruth Scarrott, NFRC’s Head of Careers, said: “We need to keep the focus on what matters: creating a culture change within the roofing sector, where leaders and their employees are committed to attracting and retaining diverse talent in the business throughout the employee life cycle.”
She added: “I urge members to work together in collaboration to increase the representation of currently under-represented groups at all levels across the roofing sector. We should all emphasise inclusion, so that we can build our sector to be a place that attracts, develops, retains and fully engages diverse individuals. We are looking forward to receiving your application.”
Peter Rogerson OBE, Chair of the NFRC Charitable Trust, said: “The trustees of the NFRC Charitable Trust are delighted to support this new Inclusion Fund to help NFRC Members to improve diversity in the sector, and to raise awareness about opportunities and careers in roofing for people from a wide range of backgrounds. We look forward to supporting new activities to inspire people to join our sector.’
Information on the Inclusion Fund is available on the NFRC website, where Members can register their interest, and outline their plans for diversity and inclusion activities. Members who have questions or would like to discuss an application can email email@example.com.