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Roofing operative

Roofer, slater

Roofing operatives work on the roofs of new buildings and also repair or re-roof older structures. This can involve using a range of different materials, such as slates, tiles or materials for flat roofs, as well as fitting skylights.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week


How to become a roofing operative

There are no formal qualifications required to become a roofing operative. However, you could complete a college course, an apprenticeship, or on the job training to move into this career. 

You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card to work on a construction site. 

College/training provider

You could complete a course at your local college such as a Level 2 Diploma in Roofing Occupations or in Roof Slating and Tiling. This would provide you with useful skills and help you gain work as a roofing operative trainee.

You’ll usually need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent.

The Roofing Industry Alliance has a RIA Roof Training Prospectus with further guidance on qualification routes and training requirements.

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a course near you

> Funding advice


You could become a roofing operative by completing an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing. 

You’ll need 2 -3 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent to become an intermediate apprentice.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a roofing operative. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience 


You could find work as a roofing labourer and undertake on-the-job training to help you become a roofing operative. 


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a roofing operative include: 

  • Knowledge of building and construction
  • A good level of fitness and ability to work at height
  • Good attention to detail
  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Be flexible and open to change
  • Excellent customer service skills.

What does a roofing operative do?

As a roofing operative, you may specialise within a certain area, such as sheeting and cladding, or tiling. You could specialise in heritage projects, or work as a hard metal and cladding roofer. 

Depending on your area of specialism, as a roofing operative you could be: 

  • Estimating the type and amount of materials needed for the job
  • Using technical drawings and specifications
  • Fitting materials to ensure the roof is fully weatherproof
  • Working to building regulations
  • Working safely at heights
  • Installing skylights
  • Working on historic or culturally significant buildings
  • Creating decorative lead or metal items in keeping with the structure.

How much could you earn as a roofing operative?

The expected salary for a roofing operative varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained roofing operatives can earn £17,000+
  • Trained roofing operatives with some experience can earn £17,000 - £25,000
  • Senior roofing operatives or master roofers can earn £25,000 - £35,000*
  • Self-employed roofing operatives set their own rates.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest roofing operative vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a roofing surveyor or consultant, estimating costs, dealing with contracts and working with architects.  

You could also become a site manager or move into technical sales. Other options include training others, setting up your own business or working as a self-employed roofing consultant.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Roofing operative This roofer job description tells you everything you need to know about a career...
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  • Current role Estimator Work involves calculating the cost of supplying products or services for clients...
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