In the ever-evolving world of the built environment, roofing materials have come a long way from when it was the norm for buildings to be roofed with whichever material was most readily available. Today’s marketplace is filled with a vast array of types and styles of roofing, from natural materials such as slate and clay, to manufactured products including asphalt, sheet metals and plastic polymers. While they can all add a distinctive design element to any building, Philip Fergusson, Managing Director of NCTS, looks at these differing materials and the training needed to become a skilled roofer.

Clay Tiles and Natural Slate

Clay tiles are a feature of buildings across the UK; their popular red finish providing a distinctive look to British homes since the early 1800s. Slate is also steeped in history, and is favoured as the solution of choice for many roofs across the country due to its class and elegance. Like clay, slate is a traditional product that can be costly but it should always be sorted, graded and installed by experienced contractors.

In terms of training, the Roof Slate & Tile NVQ Level 2 offers the opportunity to qualify with a minimum of 3 years’ experience demonstrating the practical and theory skills to installing slate and tiles to a high standard.

Concrete tiles

One of the most common materials used to manufacture tiles in the UK, concrete is often the solution of choice for many when it comes to roofing as its low maintenance, long-lasting and affordable. While concrete tiles offer considerable benefits, they are also heavy, breakable and prone to weathering.

In terms of training, the Roof Slate & Tile NVQ Level 2 offers the opportunity to qualify experienced staff through the OSAT program following a SAP program with block training and on-site training with an employer to demonstrate the practical and theory skills to installing slate and tiles to a high standard.


Traditional hard metals including copper, zinc, stainless steel and aluminium offer exceptional longevity and are lightweight compared to tiles. Lead is a softer metal that has also been used over the centuries, and can still be seen today still in good condition on many heritage sites.

NVQ2 and NVQ3 in Traditional Metal Roofing and the FTMRC (Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors) Craft Development Courses, all provide modules which educate and instil best practice in the installation of these traditional hard metals for roof sheeting and cladding.

Flat roofing

Offering design versatility, affordability, flexibility and a number of options in terms of roofing materials including felt, asphalt, single ply and liquid, flat roofs can be extremely durable and are designed to survive the elements.

Training for a NVQ level 2 for flat roofs includes demonstrating skills relating to installing built-up bituminous roof coverings, repairs and maintenance.

Roofs are in the frontline every day, and while it’s important that a roofing material can withstand anything that Mother Nature throws at it, the lifespan of the roof will be shortened if it’s poorly installed in the first place. Skills and training are vital for anyone wanting to stay ahead of the game.

National Construction Training Service (NCTS) is a provider of training for the roofing industry. We are dedicated to ensuring an outstanding level of training across the many roofing disciplines in metal, flat and pitched roofing. Our professional and progressive program of courses are designed to inspire and educate roofers across the country. Working with roofing federations, roofing training groups, manufacturers and employers from across the industry we can offer a variety of comprehensive training courses designed to fit with your needs, no matter your level of skill.