Matthew Ford (an apprentice at Incommunities) and Oscar Miller (an apprentice at The Roofing Corporation), both from Leeds College of Building, have been crowned the BMI Apprentices of the Year for pitched and flat, after the competition, which is now in its third year, culminated in two days of intense scrutiny from a panel of judges.
At a special gala dinner, the victors received a £1,000 cash prize for each of them to invest in their future, a trophy for the mantelpiece, plus a goody bag of roofing tools and materials. They are also entitled to support from BMI’s Academy.
So tightly fought were the two competitions that the judges felt that each category deserved a highly commended award.
On the pitched side, Tyler Pedrick, training with Eastern Region Roof Training Group and an apprentice to Avonside, received the accolade, while for Icopal, it was Connor Pringle, training with Bolton College and an apprentice to Manchester Building Company.
The finalists competed over two days, which comprised a series of presentations and assignments. These examined every facet of running their own roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills, to assessing a pre-prepared roof and highlighting any defects and delivering a verbal assessment of the roof to the judges, suggesting what measures might be taken to repair the installation.
Perhaps the most daunting of the exercises was the individual presentations made to the judges at the very end of the competition. This involved a five-minute talk in front of their respective judging panels describing their motivation and future objectives in roofing.
Alastair Blant, technical trainer at BMI UK & Ireland, said: “This year’s competition was a runaway success, with the greatest amount of entries to date. The quality of the entrants was what impressed us most – making the judges jobs very hard. It is a great representation of what our roofing colleges and training groups are offering to see such high-quality candidates taking part.
“This shone through throughout the competition, and I believe the winners – Oscar Miller on the flat roofing side, and Matthew Ford on the pitched roofing side, were well deserved of their wins, and will go on to have fantastic careers.”