Finding a job with long-term security and prospects isn’t always easy, but an Armagh company is giving young people the chance to get on the career ladder with a roofing apprenticeship.
Sealmax Roofing, which has offices in Armagh and Dublin, has positions for up to six young people aged between 18-24.
The apprentices will spend a year gaining a wide variety of on-the-job training and experience, they will earn a wage and, at the end, they will have obtained an NVQ qualification.
Commercial director and Loughgall man Keith Anderson, who has worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years, said there is a shortage of staff in the industry in general, yet the demand for work has not subsided.
“There seems to be a shift away from learning a trade after finishing school to going to university, and that leaves us with a shortage of skilled labour, which is concerning,” he said.
The company works all over Ireland and at present is involved with a number of major contracts including a transport hub in Dublin’s Connolly Station and apartment blocks in the city.
“They always say you can gauge the state of an economy in Ireland by the number of tower cranes in Dublin and there are still over 100 cranes there,” added Keith.
Keith is one of three partners in the firm, the others being managing director Shane McGleenan, who founded the company, Derek McMahon and Stuart McDonald, all of whom have dozens of years of combined experience in the industry.
Sealmax also carry out essential repair work and have contracts with high-profile companies, including CBRE and Knight Frank, to maintain their clients’ properties and carry out any repair work that’s needed.
There are also significant projects in the pipeline such as the Monaghan Peace Campus being constructed by Newry firm Felix O’Hare, with Sealmax due to start work on it by the end of the year.
The company also specialises in maintenance and call-outs and has a contract with Irish Rail to carry out its maintenance over a five-year programme.
“Even during the Covid shutdown, we weren’t closed for one day,” said Keith. “We were doing a lot of maintenance contracts and call-outs as well as any contractual work permissible under the Covid guidance.”
Keith says the company is looking to the future and after the year’s training is over, there will be a progression route for the apprentices.
“The idea is that they get a broad brush of working in this sector so that in a few years they can step into a more supervisory role, so there is career progression after this,” he said.
“We are quite a small firm but we have aspirations to grow quite quickly in the next year or so. We use a lot of sub-contractors but it is our intention to grow our own employee base so they have a history with the company, a qualification and there is longevity there for everybody.”
The apprenticeship scheme is being part-funded by the Government and applications are now open.
Keith says they are looking for young people who are “willing to learn” and that the rewards are a “long-term career path in the construction industry”.
A Construction Skills Register (CSR) card is desirable but not essential.
“Roofing is a lot more skilled than people realise. There is traditional metal roofing such as copper, aluminium, zinc, which is all to do with perceiving details and fitting a system together. It’s a but like stonemasonry where it’s all done by hand, and those are some of the skills we will be teaching,” he said.
The company is also looking for up to five qualified, seasoned roofers to deal with the volume of work on the books.
“We will be giving them every opportunity to achieve within the company and to feel they are part of a forward-looking organisation, where they are earning good money,” he added.
You can also check out the opportunities available at Sealmax Roofing here.