Bicester Takes the BCP Route

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Bicester Takes the BCP Route

Bicester Roofing is one of the first roofing companies to take advantage of Redland’s unique accredited Basic Competency Programme (BCP) for pitched roofing.

The BCP certificate – when combined with a Working at Heights CSCS Health & Safety Test pass – entitles operatives to apply for the three-year Red Experienced Worker CSCS ‘ticket’, allowing them to work on site while looking towards the next level of qualification.

The course enables roofers who do not have formal qualifications to benefit from CITB-funded training because Redland is an accredited provider of the BCP for pitched roofing – and the only manufacturer to be approved, to date, in respect of pitched roofing.

“This course fills a big gap in training, because the majority of sites require all trades to have a CSCS card but trainees can only apply for an emergency card, which just lasts six months,” explained Antony White, Contracts Manager of Bicester Roofing, which employs 70 staff and 50 full-time sub-contractors.

“Without the BCP certificate, they would then have to enrol for the NVQ with only six months’ experience.

“This two-day course enables trainees to get the Red card that entitles them to work on-site for three years. And in three years they should have completed the NVQ that entitles them to work on-site with a full Blue experienced worker card.”

Two advantages
According to Antony, this has two advantages: The trainees have a long-term goal, and that in turn will improve staff retention. And, because the BCP is supported by the CITB, it is outstanding value for money.

He added: “We sent 11 of our trainees on a two-day course and it only cost us £50 a head – that’s pretty remarkable. And the lads really enjoyed it.”

Certainly Kieran Soame, 23, thinks highly of the course. A former barman, he has only been working on roofs for about eight months, and he found the course very helpful. “We fitted tiles that we hadn’t fitted before, like a cloaked verge tile on a double roman, and used dry fix systems. I’m now happier working with slates and tiles than I would have been, and the explanations were unbelievably good,” he said.

The main objective of the BCP is to support roofers without either a full competency or an official roofing qualification in obtaining one; and help them to convert their Green CSCS cards to the Blue Skilled Worker CSCS version. It will also help those in other trades, perhaps already holding higher level CSCS cards, to change sector or add to their skill sets. The BCP is endorsed by the CITB, the NFRC, Competent Roofer scheme, and CSCS.

100% success rate
The two-day course covers both theory and practice, and ends with an assessment where a pass mark of 85% determines whether or not the trainees gain a CSCS card – and so far no one has failed.

“It’s an intriguing course to deliver because you’re dealing with guys who already have a certain amount of skill, experience and know-how. So you need to keep them engaged but pick up on where there are gaps in their knowledge – or where they’ve picked up bad practice and short cuts that don’t work,” said Training Manager Mat Woodyatt.

According to Kieran, this easy-going approach worked well. “I’ve got ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), so my concentration level is not very high and I lose interest in things very quickly. But they were phenomenal at explaining – quite funny, but getting the point over.” The proof was that Kieran, despite being the youngest and least experienced on the course, scored top marks of 100%.

At present Training Manager Mat and Trainer Alastair Blant deliver the course either at Redland’s National Training Centre just outside Cirencester, Gloucestershire, so the course can include a plant tour, or at the Leeds College of Building, which effectively acts as a northern base.

Mat added: “It’s an honour for Redland to be recognised as the only manufacturer currently capable of meeting BCP certification training demands for pitched roofing. But beyond that, it’s fantastic for us to be involved with bringing through the next generation of roofers, as well as setting older hands off on the qualification pathway. It’s great for us, great for them and great for the industry.”

Subsidised by Redland and the CITB, the course costs only £150 for both the training and certification. A CITB training grant may also be available to qualifying companies, bringing the total cost of the BCP certificate down to just £50. And one trainee is so enthused that he aims to go back – in his own time – and do a couple of courses.

“I’m prepared to pay for it but with the CITB I can develop my skills and it won’t cost me a thing,” said Kieran.

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