Trio of Initiatives to Support Skills and Training

SPRA membership working collectively and collaboratively to improving quality across the single ply industry

Ask most people in construction, and they will tell you that not only are there not enough skilled and knowledgeable people to go around (just look at the numbers of non-UK nationals working in the sector), but that not enough is being done to encourage new and, more importantly, young people into the industry. That is why SPRA is delighted to announce that it has created a new online training and assessment tool in addition to now offering Installer membership. These two initiatives plug gaps in the existing training and membership offer and are further supported by the newly approved ‘Damage Protection Guidance’.

The Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) is a specialist federation and as such it has a duty to support and promote the single ply roofing sector; not just for the benefit of members, but for the industry as a whole. Over the last two years, SPRA members have come together to address the skills and quality issue. Their hard work has resulted in these complimentary initiatives which will increase knowledge and skills and improve quality across the single ply sector.

The backbone of the Single Ply Roofing Association is its Quality Standards. But standards alone are not enough. An installer needs to have the correct skills and knowledge to understand and comply with those standards. Not only that – those people who interact with or maintain the roof following installation also need to understand how to look after it properly.

Online Training & Assessment Tool

The new online training and assessment tool is free to use and is accessed via the SPRA website. It has been created by the SPRA Small Roofs Group made up of SPRA membrane members to offer an easily accessible resource that can improve knowledge across the sector. The learner can go through the modules as many times as they like before taking the test. Successful completion of the test will result in a special SPRA certificate which the installer can use to demonstrate their knowledge. The training tool will also promote both SPRA standards and guidance, but also further education and training opportunities.

SPRA single ply manufacturer members offer excellent training for installers who use their products, and SPRA has approved many of these courses as ‘Basic Competency Programmes (BCP). Because any BCP will cover elements of the full Level 2 Single Ply NVQ, a trainee is already part-way to achieving this qualification. The BCP allows experienced workers access to a special three-year CSCS card which gets them on to site, and provides them with plenty of time to gain the full level 2 qualification and a blue Skilled Worker CSCS card. SPRA also currently offers a £50 grant (in addition to CITB day rate grants) to installers who successfully complete the BCP.

SPRA is the only organisation that is approved to deliver the Special Applied-skills Programme (SAP) and Specialist Upskilling Programme (SUP) for achievement of the Level 2. It is also able to deliver this qualification through Onsite Assessment & Training (OSAT) for experienced workers. All programmes are open to members and non-members of SPRA. There are CITB grants available for registered companies for SAP, SUP and OSATs with additional funding currently available for OSAT – making this a particularly attractive option at the moment. It is also worth noting that CITB funding will be reduced from April 2018, so now is a great time to get employees trained!

SPRA recognises the contribution to single ply roofing provided by sub-contractors and sole trader installers. Now that there is a comprehensive training path for installers following the creation of the SPRA online training module and manufacturer BCP, SPRA has been able to create a new Installer Membership category to allow access to SPRA benefits for this important part of our industry. Achievement of the Level 2 Single Ply NVQ is a key criterion of Installer membership. It is hoped that this initiative will quickly help to increase the number of qualified installers working in the sector and available to our members.

The care and maintenance of a single ply roof following installation is a key factor in its ongoing performance, sustainability and reliability. A lot needs to be done to educate after-trades and those responsible for ongoing maintenance. That is why SPRA has also developed a newly revised Damage Protection guidance document, but with the added benefit of a free ‘Toolbox Talk’ section at the back. SPRA hopes that this new resource will be widely used as a simple and effective way of tackling this important

All three initiatives are important milestones for SPRA and the wider industry. It is hoped that they will create a step-change in the numbers of properly trained and qualified installers across the UK, and will further promote single ply as the flat roofing option of choice.

Details of all training and membership options can be found on the SPRA website.

Visit the SPRA website to find SPRA members and to access a wealth of information on specialist training, downloadable technical guidance, industry news, awards and events.