BMI’s apprentice competition demonstrates its commitment to roofing’s future


The search is on to find the sectors top apprentices in BMI UK & Ireland’s 2019 Apprentice of the Year competition. The two previous competitions were hailed a great success, unearthing some exciting roofing talent and, with this year’s competition open for entries, BMI looks back on the competition and the great things that have been achieved by past entrants.


The competition provides encouragement, support and recognition to the emerging talent in the roofing sector, along with their employers and course tutors. Now in its third year, the competition has grown at a great speed – with astonishing support and involvement from apprentices and those studying towards qualified status, their training providers, and industry partners and bodies. 2019 is set to be another amazing year, with a record number of entries received in the first week alone.  


2019 will award both a pitched and flat roofing Apprentice of the Year, following the addition of a flat roofing category to the 2018 competition. This was made possible following the coming together of Icopal and Monier Redland to form BMI UK & Ireland, making it the largest manufacturer of flat and pitched roofing and waterproofing solutions in the UK and Europe.


The competition brings entries from apprentices and students with diverse and varied backgrounds and it has seen a great number from former service personnel starting second careers in roofing.


With over 14,000* people leaving the forces each year and with so many of their skills, talents and attitudes perfect for construction, organisations like BuildForce are actively working to recruit service leavers to the industry. Not only does the outdoor life and camaraderie match that of their previous careers, roofing also gives them the opportunities to work in a skilled environment where they are well-placed to deploy their self-discipline, teamwork and initiative.


For some, being a BMI Apprentice of the Year finalist is just the start. Former soldier Tom Thompson, Highly Commended in the 2018 pitched roofing category, has since gone on to win Rising Star in the Pitched Roofing Awards and has just been appointed a CITB Construction Ambassador, with a remit to share his experiences with young people in schools and colleges who are considering a career in construction.


As some embark upon new careers, others find the competition leads to new business opportunities. Cieran Peel-Price, finalist in both 2017 and 2018 competitions, and coincidentally another former soldier, formed his own company with a fellow roofer last year; while Joe Stradling, the 2017 Apprentice of the Year, became self-employed last summer.


Open for entries until 3rd May 2019, the competition asks entrants to tell BMI about their views on how the roofing sector is changing and how  their education has changed their plans for their future career. Finalists will come together in July for a 2-day event – where they will receive training and compete on a number of elements about running their own roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills.


Mat Woodyatt, BMI Technical Training Manager at the company’s National Training Centre, explains how the company’s commitment to the Apprentice of the Year fits with its ethos of going beyond simply manufacturing products to form long-term relationships based on trust, care, service and confidence: “It’s important to us to nurture the next generation of roofers because, by doing so, we are helping to ensure that roofing flourishes – and achieves the high-quality workmanship ‘in the field’ to which the sector aspires and our end-user customers deserve. By working together to develop and maintain a healthy skills base, we will all be contributing to reducing skill shortages and – in the grand scheme of things – improving national building capacity”.


For further information about this year’s BMI Apprentice of the Year competition, including entry details please visit

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