Further to your article regarding the proposed closure of the mastic asphalt course at Manchester School of Construction at Manchester College of Arts and Technology (27 May, page 13), we hope we can attempt to set the record straight with regard to the joint efforts that are taking place between CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Mastic Asphalt Council and the industry to ensure the tradition of training within this specialist area of roofing continues.

For some time, CITB-ConstructionSkills and the asphalt industry have been working together to carry out the first full training review of this sector of roofing for a number of years. Roofing companies that are installing mastic asphalt and mastic asphalt manufacturers are being invited to answer a detailed training-related questionnaire. This will result in a bespoke survey being developed that will provide us with information on the training requirements of the sector.

CITB-ConstructionSkills has also developed with the roofing sector a pilot scheme regarding the concept of mobile training. This comes in the form of a demountable roofing rig for trade training. Although the pilot and assessment process has not yet been completed, it has been well received by the built-up felt roofing sector and in our view is appropriate for forms of training within the sector. Apart from the mobile rig, other methods of delivering training – such as regional centres of excellence – are being assessed and remain as options.

All roofing courses require a steady and viable throughput of trainees and apprentices, and roofing contractors must remain aware of this. It is true that there are not enough assessors within some sectors of the roofing industry, but this was not an issue that affected the closure of the MANCAT course.