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BUSINESSES, colleges and young people in Notts are being invited to an open day at the only college dedicated to roofing skills in the East Midlands.
The Bulwell-based East Midlands Roofing College (EMRC), which opened in January, is throwing open its doors on 13 April to show off its new facilities to everyone.
The college, the brainchild of Jason Wright MD of J Wright Roofing is already training 11 apprentice recruits and in May, will welcome another dozen young people ready to learn roofing skills.
The colleges Livia Williams said: We are holding this open day to show the local community, colleges and roofing companies all the facilities we have here.
We are taking this opportunity to invite people to come along and see the facilities, and speak to our current apprentices.
Jason Wright came up with the idea for the college because he was so frustrated that his own young apprentices had to travel miles to a Birmingham roofing college.
Despite the economic downturn, EMRC was built with financial support from J Wright Roofing and a 40,000 grant from the East Midlands NTI Catapulting Kids Further! Programme funded by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda).
Jason said: Skills are the lifeblood of the roofing industry and we knew we had to play our part in keeping the industry alive. This is the first college of its type in the East Midlands. I was resolute that we needed this sort of training facility in the region.
The college offers apprenticeship training for 16 to 18 year olds and those who are 19 years and over. Any roofing company across the East Midlands can send their apprentices to the college for instruction in roof slating and tiling level 2, advanced apprenticeship in roof slating and tiling, heritage roofing apprenticeships level 2 and 3. The college is looking to establish the first Diploma in Roofing in the East Midlands.
The EMRC was built at the rear of Jasons own successful firm in Blenheim Industrial Estate, Bulwell. He and J Wright Roofing financial director and college co-founder Livia Williams worked tirelessly for two years to make it happen and in January, the college opened its doors for the first time to 11 young people keen to start on roofing careers.
Jason, who himself started out as a roofing apprentice before setting up his roofing company in 1991,  and Livia are passionate about training and supporting young people. J Wright Roofing had been operating a successful apprenticeship scheme for more than 12 years. Over the past 15 years, J Wright has had around 30 apprentices most of whom have stayed with the company.
As Livia says: Roofing is a dying trade, and if more isnt done to nurture young people and encourage them to take on roofing skills, the roofing industry will suffer.
The nearby Bulwell Academy is a partner and the college offers taster days and work experience free of charge to academy students in year nine, ten and 11. As well as its work with the academy, college representatives visit local schools to take part in assemblies and participate in career events and jobs fairs.
Livia is the training centre co-ordinator and there are two assessor/tutors, one administrator and one internal verifier. Livia has achieved the A1 assessor qualification and she is now working towards the Internal Quality Assurance Qualification.
The EMRC tutors/assessors started with J Wright Roofing at the age of 16 and went through the apprenticeship process themselves and gained level 2 and advanced apprenticeship.  When the college was launched, they showed great interest in becoming assessors and tutors, and we knew they would be a role model to our students, says Livia. They both did intensive training to becoming assessors - A1 assessor training and the tutors gained the PTTLS teaching qualification.
The first group of apprentices are already several weeks into their courses and are looking forward to getting out on site to try roofing for real.


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