Forster: Ensuring the future of local skills

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2 On A Roof

Forster Group’s Skills Academy programme addresses skills shortages in Scotland’s roofing industry

Scottish roofing and solar specialist Forster Group has always recognised the importance of nurturing talent in a high-performing organisation.


Throughout its 30 years in business it has continually invested in apprenticeships. In 2015 it launched the Forster Skills Academy, an innovative and impactful approach to skills development for the Scottish home building and roofing industry.


The two-year integrated Modern Apprenticeship programme combined structured job-based learning with contextualised off-site training. Apprentices travelled from all over Scotland to take part in the 16-week residential progamme, which was delivered within a new secondary school community campus in Brechin.


New apprentices under one roof

Prior to launching the Skills Academy, the Group had been trying for some time to contribute to the development of an apprenticeship model that answered the needs of both their company and the wider housebuilding sector in Scotland.


Having worked extensively but without success with training and educational institutions to try to address the gap, Forster Group decided to create its own in-house training facility.


Based in Brechin, Angus, the Academy would deliver a Modern Apprenticeship (SQFL5) in Roofing Occupations, designed for newbuild housing.


Since its launch, the Skills Academy has taken on 50 apprentices and is now preparing to launch Skills Academy 2.0, which will create more opportunities for entrants of all ages and backgrounds to enter the industry.

The training program was designed to be visionary. It reached beyond the basic qualification, encompassing a broader understanding of the construction and build process. The offsite learning was completed on a residential basis and the program was designed to provide a diverse range of experiences and challenges which would mature, shape and help grow our learners, personally and professionally. John Forster
Founder and Board Chairman, Forster Group

The final intake of apprentices into the Forster Group Skills Academy qualified in January 2021, but the commitment to training Scotland’s workforce of the future doesn’t end there. The design of Skills Academy 2.0 is under way, and the Group remains committed to providing Graduate, Foundation and Technical Modern Apprenticeship opportunities as part of its everyday business.

This case study was prepared by BE-ST on behalf of the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum.