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The value of manufacturer-backed training

Posted: 16th February 2023

Lisa Grosse

Brand Manager


According to the NFRC’s latest ‘State of the Industry’ survey, cladders and roofers alike are continuing to be hit by a chronic shortage of skilled labour and materials. However, we’re encouraged by the flexible attitude installers are taking to training that manufacturers such as Cedral offer.

While poor availability of timber battens, general timber and insulation continue to test the patience of the industry, recruitment and skills are also major challenges according to the NFRC’s latest barometer survey. During the post-Brexit period, the skills shortage has moved up the agenda for all contractors. Most installers now understand the importance consistent, high quality training to move unskilled labourers up the ladder.

According to the report almost half (47 per cent) of contractors were struggling to find roof slaters and tilers, with 27 per cent finding it difficult to even secure general labourers. This shortage of skilled labour is encouraging more installers to ‘grow their own’ by looking at training offered by manufacturers such as Cedral, covering both roof slates and cladding.

A national survey by Cedral in association with Total Contractor magazine highlights that installers are thinking much more flexibly about training and are increasingly aware of the value it can bring to their businesses.

On-line or on site?

We asked contractors how they liked to receive product training. While most (45%) said they preferred to do this in person / on site, a surprisingly high number (55%) were happy to consider courses either on-line or at a merchant’s/manufacturer’s premises. A surprisingly high percentage of respondents (20%) stated a preference to undertake training remotely.

This is a clear shift in attitude, that has perhaps been encouraged by the working conditions created by Covid-19. Even the most non-technical installer has had to embrace on-line technologies such as Teams or Zoom and have found that these options can work well, reducing time out of the business.

Time to train

When we asked contractors about the amount of time they would like to dedicate to product training, the response was clear. The vast majority (70%) of respondents would like training to take no more than 4 hours. Evidently, short, focused and relevant training bursts are what contractors are after.

Only 30% of installers like the idea of a full day’s training.

Our survey also asked about the best time of day to hold training sessions. Interestingly, a big majority (61%) of contractors voted for morning sessions. Most respondents (84%) liked the idea of training take place during the working day, while just 16% thought evening sessions were preferable.

Cost: benefit

Are contractors willing to pay for good quality training? Our survey confirms that most installers (61%) are happy to put their hands in their pockets to obtain better product knowledge and skills. Clearly, there is agreement that a nominal attendance fee increases attendance and commitment to courses as well as the quality of training provided. When asked if they saw a benefit to attending manufacturer training, more than 90% of businesses said yes, adding that they would be even more willing to attend training sessions if they were invited to join an installer scheme on completion of the course.

The plethora of training courses for roofers and cladders can be bewildering, with the likes of the CITB, BESA and the NFRC all offering accreditations. However, manufacturers like Cedral are also working hard to improve the scope of its courses to plug the knowledge gap.

For example, Cedral has launched a national certified professional installer scheme, an online platform which puts homeowners in touch with certified installers. All participating businesses have to undergo rigorous vetting procedures, assessing evidence of their skills and professionalism, with Cedral visiting a live project to confirm that installers meet the standards required to join the scheme. They also receive regular training on the products. More than 40 experienced cladding contractors are now signed up to the Cedral Select Professional. Most recently Cedral launched a similar scheme for roofing installers.

Lisa Grosse

Brand Manager


Lisa is the brand manager at Cedral who offer a range of fibre cement materials for your home