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What You Need to Know

  1. Roofers work on both residential and commercial buildings, fitting, repairing, maintaining roofs of all types
  2. The job requires a head for heights as well as the ability to read building plans and a reliable, hardworking nature
  3. Many roofers go into the trade with no formal qualifications, though vocational qualifications will only boost your chances of finding work
  4. Some of the courses available include the ConstructionSkills Awards Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling
  5. Once you’ve started work, the Institute of Roofing (IOF) offers a range of courses that can aid your professional development
  6. As a labourer learning your trade, you will earn between £12,000 and £15,000 a year, though once you qualify your pay may rise to £25,000 a year
  7. The JobcentrePlus website, as well as specialist construction recruitment sites, are great places to look for roofing work

What Do Roofers Do?

Roofers work on both residential and commercial buildings, fitting, repairing, maintaining roofs of all types. While you will be just one part of a larger construction team, you will often be working under your own initiative, putting to good use specialist skills and making use of a wide range of materials.

  • As a roofer, some of your daily responsibilities could include:
  • Fitting felt sheets and tiling to either flat or sloped roofs
  • Removing, replacing or repairing broken tiles or slates
  • Drawing up plans for a new project, including measuring and cutting materials to size, and ensuring these plans are accurately followed
  • Waterproofing a roof, for instance using mortar or cement

Skills and Qualifications

Many roofers go into the trade with no formal qualifications. And while many employers now ask that you have some formal training, it’s still possible to get started with few or no GCSEs or A-levels. The best way to get started is to try and find work as an entry-level roofer. Ask around local roofing companies or construction firms for general labourer jobs and then try and learn as much about the trade as you can. Once you have proven yourself to be both determined and reliable, a good employer should be prepared to help you develop as a roofer, possibly even supporting you through a related college course.

Some of the courses available include the ConstructionSkills Awards Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling. This can be done at a local college on a part-time or a full-time basis. While this will give you a good grounding in roofing techniques, as well as an appreciation of health and safety matters, you will still need to get some on-the-job experience to complement the classroom training, which is where finding entry-level work as a labourer comes in more than a little handy.

Alternatively, you can also get into working as a roofer through the official Apprenticeships scheme. Visit the Apprenticeships website ( to find out more about the initiative and to search for local roofing firms keen to take on new talent.

Alongside formal training and professional, on-the-job experience, employers may also look for evidence of the following skills and personal attributes:

  • A good understanding on health and safety best practice on a building site
  • Good maths skills and the ability to read and follow architectural plans
  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • A good level of personal fitness as well as a good head for heights
  • A reliable, hard-working nature

Training and Development

There are a number of options open to you if you want to continue your professional development even after you’ve started working as a fully-qualified roofer.

For starters, you can apply to become a member of the Institute of Roofing (IOF). Once you’re signed up, you’ll be able to make use of a wide range of training and development options, including short courses, workshops and online seminars, all of which may serve to boost your career prospects and earning potential.

Meanwhile, the Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme helps roofers learn old roofing methods. By making use of the initiative, you may be able to enhance your skill set to include working on historic buildings – work that can be both more interesting and pay better than working on newer buildings. Learn more about the scheme at the official website: (

Pay and Benefits

As a labourer learning your trade, you can expect to earn between £12,000 and £15,000 a year, though once you qualify you can expect your pay to rise to between £17,000 and £25,000 a year. With more experience, your salary can rise further still, especially if you are happy to work unsocial hours or can offer unique skills such as working with historic materials.

If you choose to work on a self-employed basis, you are free to choose your own hours and set your own rates, though you will be responsible for taking care of your own tax and National Insurance.

Other benefits of working as a roofer include the opportunity to work in the fresh air rather than behind a desk, the chance to work as part of a team and the satisfaction that comes with a finished job well done.

Possible Downsides

Even if you’re OK with the heights – and not everyone is – working as a roofer can still have its downsides. For starters, rates of pay when you’re still learning your trade are relatively poor, plus working as a labourer can be tough. Other potential drawbacks include the possibility of having to work outdoors in inclement weather, while the work will always have some element of risk involved, no matter how closely health and safety rules are followed on-site.

Finding Work

Vacancies are posted on JobcentrePlus, with positions for both entry-level and experienced roofers in all parts of the country regularly advertised. Alternatively, alongside applying to local building and construction firms, you can search for new opportunities on specialist recruitment websites such as Construct Recruitment ( and CSC Recruitment (

Further Reading

Find out if this is the career for you with the help of the Institute of Roofing (

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