Two construction workers laying tiles on a roof 

What does a roofing apprenticeship involve? What skills do you need to work as a roofer? This guide to becoming a roofer or roofing operative will tell you all you need to know about acquiring one of the most important construction skills.  


What is an apprentice roofer?

The role 

As a roofing apprentice, you will learn a wide range of roofing skills, work with different roofing materials and tools and become knowledgeable in roofing techniques.  

Duties and responsibilities during your apprenticeship 

During an intermediate apprenticeship in roofing, you will be expected to take on the following duties:  

  • Measuring, marking out, fitting, finishing, positioning and securing 
  • Installing different types and materials of roof tiles 
  • Installing underlay and battens, roof sheeting and cladding 
  • Interpreting technical drawings and plans  
  • Make recommendations for customers


Step-by-step guide to becoming an apprentice roofer

Research the trade 

If you are interested in working as a roofer, make sure you find out more about the trade and what the work involves. If you know someone who works as a roofer, ask if you can do some work experience with them. You will quickly learn whether roofing is for you. 

Understand the roofing industry 

It is important to learn about what you could be doing as a roofer. You might be replacing single slates on a customer’s roof, identifying the source of leaky roofs or roofing public buildings or large commercial buildings. You might be on the same site for anything between a few hours or several weeks, but a couple of things are certain: you will be moving regularly from site to site, and you’ll be outside most of the time. 

Explore the different roofing specialities 

  • Roof slating and tiling – an increasingly popular and premium method of roofing, for roofs with pitches of 20 degrees or more  
  • Sheeting and cladding – forms of metal sheeting that layer on top of each other on modern buildings, to provide thermal insulation and resistance to weather  
  • Waterproof membranes – a layer of water-tight material that is laid onto the surface of a roof to prevent water leaks or damage  
  • Solar roofs – a method of roofing that incorporates solar panels as a way of generating electricity or heat  
  • Green roofs – an ecologically friendly form of roofing. A layer of vegetation is placed over a waterproofing system to provide a habitat for wildlife, found most commonly in cities  

Educational requirements 

Most employers will ask for GCSE passes in English and Maths at Grades 2-3 (D-E), or apprentices can take Level 1 Functional Skills including English and Maths as part of their apprenticeship.    

Essential skills and attributes 

By the end of their apprenticeship roofing apprentices should be able to demonstrate the following:  

  • Good teamwork 
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Able to work on your own for long periods  
  • Effective time management  
  • A head for heights!  

Physical fitness 

As roofers work at height and outside in all weather, you will need to have a good level of physical fitness.  v

A roofing apprentice practicing laying roof slates in a workshop 

Where to find apprenticeship opportunities

One of the best ways to find roofing apprenticeships is on Talentview. You can search by region and job role, and apply direct to the employer from the vacancy listing. You can also find apprenticeships by applying directly to employers, contacting local colleges or asking friends or family members if they know of apprenticeships available at companies.


Applying for a roofing apprenticeship

If you are applying for apprenticeships, it is always a good idea to:   


Starting your apprenticeship

You can start your roofing apprenticeship at any age, as long as you are over 16 and no longer in full-time education. Remember, apprenticeships are not just for school leavers – anyone of working age can start a new career and gain a nationally recognised qualification while earning while they learn on an apprenticeship.


Completing your training

Intermediate apprenticeships in Roofing take up to 2 years to complete. The Level 2 apprenticeship qualification you earn will enable you to apply for vacancies as a Trained Roofing Operative.  


Tips for success as an apprentice roofer

All buildings need roofs, so roofers will always be in high demand. Roofs also take quite a battering from the elements, so there will always be a roof in need of repair. If you like using your hands and looking back at the end of a day's work having produced something tangible, then a career as a roofer could be ideal for you. During your apprenticeship, you should have learnt about most aspects of roofing methods and techniques, so perhaps specialise in the one in which you are most interested or excel at.  

Remember that there is good earning potential as a roofer. You could earn up to £35,000 as a trained roofing operative, while senior roofing operatives or master roofers can earn as much as £65,000.  


Find out more about apprenticeships in construction

At Go Construct we have lots of useful information about roofing apprenticeships and working as a roofer.  

Search for a roofing apprenticeship on Talentview