Doubt has been cast over the future of training provision in the roofing trade after it emerged that one of the only two asphalting courses in the UK is to close.

The Manchester School of Construction confirmed this week that it will not be taking on any more mastic asphalting apprentices after this intake. The closure leaves Hackney College, London, as the only college offering the course.

A source in the roofing industry said that asphalting had been hit by a lack of take-up of apprenticeships that was damaging the sector as a whole.

“Roofing courses, particularly those in asphalting, are having to close as there is huge trouble finding apprentices. A lot of our labour is in the 40-50 age bracket, and there simply isn’t a workforce coming through to replace them.”

The source added that training problems were being exacerbated by a lack of NVQ assessors qualified to examine roofing students.

This has reportedly left some candidates waiting up to three years for their portfolios to be assessed. It has also given rise to fears that apprentice roofers may be driven out of the industry in frustration.

  • CITB–ConstructionSkills is issuing a final call to employers who wish to sign up to its Inspire Scholarships scheme, which aims to attract quality recruits to the industry. The scheme, which has a final deadline of 10 June, provides students with funding of up to £9000 to support them through university.