CEO of the Institute of Roofing (IOR), Stuart Hicks, offers advice and guidance on home-based learning, and why upskilling is more important than ever.
As Covid-19 continues to grip the nation, and the world – working from home remains the new norm. Before the pandemic hit, research suggested that less than five per cent of the UK construction industry actually utilise ‘offsite techniques’, compared to 15 per cent in Japan, and 20 per cent in Sweden*. So, for some, setting up a home office was a real change for day-to-day working life and means we have had to become more adaptable as an industry. Looking at the long-term, have our working habits been changed forever? Will we see many companies adopting a ‘work from home’ ethos now for the future to save on cost and time?
Where training is concerned, the aim of the IOR is to encourage and support continual learning and career development for those with supervisory, management and ownership roles within the roofing industry. We have an important educational role to play for individuals and this has never been so vital as we continue to live through some extraordinary times as a country.
WHY TRAINING MATTERS
Even as we enter 2021, job security for many may be uncertain as a result of the pandemic. But it is important to use this time wisely to upskill, think about training goals, the qualifications you can add to your CV, and access the free information and guidance out there from trusted sources like industry associations.
For employers, it makes more business sense to invest in employees. Well trained and knowledgeable teams reflect the business and can enhance the reputation of the company. You need to be able to rely on your workforce – and that can happen if they are treated well, with respect, and are recognised for their skills.
WHAT DOES THE IOR DO?
We are a membership organisation open to anyone in the roofing sector from contractors to manufacturers, merchants and distributors to roof surveyors, consultants and a wide range of support services. We offer individual members a clear, structured path towards management careers in roofing by achieving industry recognised professional qualifications. This is done by building on existing knowledge, offering sector-specific courses and CPDs. This provides professional status as an Associate member, or higher-level status of the IOR.
Our physical CPD events are currently on hold, but our website and benefits package provides access to a host of certified online training courses, many of which are free to members.
HOW TO ACCESS ONLINE TRAINING
Our courses are independently certified by leading bodies and can be taken by members and non-members. They include Abrasive Wheels, Fire Safety, Working at Height, Manual Handling, First Aid, Asbestos Awareness and Fire Marshal. These are the six areas required to be covered for the RoofCERT accreditation programme that provides individual roofers with visible proof of their essential roofing and safety management skills. Members of the IOR for example can take one of these courses for free as part of their annual subscription.
HOW IOR CAN SUPPORT YOU
Access to information, guidance and training is more readily available now than it was before. Throughout 2020, we improved our marketing communications, targeted relevant media, increased our social media presence and updated the website. This was to ensure people know they can come to the Institute for professional qualifications, further learning opportunities, guidance and information.
We have an online benefits portal of training and e-learning options with thousands of free courses, which can only be accessed by members, but we encourage them to share the information and knowledge using the tools from the portal with colleagues, family and friends. However, even if you’re not a member, anyone can sign-up and undertake our main online courses.
In the last 12 months, we have focussed more on our regions and keeping our members fully updated with industry changes throughout these uncertain times. Although our CPDs and regional events are currently on hold, we encourage members and other professionals to talk to one another remotely, network online and introduce the benefits of our membership to the wider construction industry. This will be a way forward to ensure more effective communications across the entire chain, and hopefully help contribute to the development of the UK roofing sector.
There have also been many questions being raised about what constitutes an ‘essential’ site or safe working environments during the current crisis. To help our industry, we have created a Corona Virus Advice webpage on the IOR website, with access to various Government and industry body sources that contain the information you need and that are regularly updated.
As with any working environment we would recommend that the health and safety of all workers is considered as part of your risk assessment, and method statement and any action required is both communicated and acted upon by those responsible.
There is no umbrella organisation in roofing, so we have to work together to ensure we deliver the best possible guidance and support for anyone working in this field. Trade associations and federations are increasingly working collaboratively to achieve this, standing together during this difficult period for the benefit of the industry.
In these unprecedented times it is important that we do what we can to keep our members informed of the latest information and advice available from the official sources.
Working from home can potentially have an impact on your mental health if, like many, you are used to being out on site, meeting clients or working closely with colleagues. Days can seem long, unproductive and unstructured. By setting yourself training goals, it can offer a sense of achievement, and help to looking more positively to the future.
Institute of Roofing
Tel: 020 8106 8954