Roofing apprentices return from Spanish trip of a lifetime

Two roofing apprentices from Leeds College of Building recently embarked on a unique journey to northern Spain, delving into the world of natural slate production.  

The two individuals were selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to the renowned CUPA PIZARRAS quarries in Ponferrada, Spain. The quarries, known as the world’s largest tectonic natural slate reserves, left a lasting impression. 

The initiative was made possible through the college’s enduring partnership with CUPA PIZARRAS, a major supporter of the Roof Slating and Tiling department, which generously donates natural slate roofing supplies through Burton Roofing Merchants Ltd. 

Andrew Addison, employed by Historic England, and Sam Edwards from Swadlincote Roofing, earned this

Sam Edwards, a roofing apprentice, stands in a high-vis jacket with one foot resting on a large piece of quarry machinery.

 remarkable experience due to their exceptional work and dedication during the previous academic year.  

Accompanied by their roofing lecturer, Dale Yates, Andrew and Sam witnessed the monumental scale of slate production at the world’s largest quarry. They observed the entire process, from extracting the stone from the ground to hand-splitting it, making it ready for distribution to global roofing markets. Their visit also included a tour of the on-site showroom, demonstrations, and an opportunity to try their hands at some of the techniques themselves. 

Dale Yates, the roofing lecturer at Leeds College of Building, expressed his enthusiasm about the trip, saying, “This trip was an unbelievable opportunity for our apprentices to see the impressive infrastructure needed for production and distribution of natural slate from the world’s largest quarry. Thanks to CUPA for making us all feel extremely welcome. Everyone involved had a fantastic time. Learners and staff (including myself) took away valuable knowledge, along with an experience we will never forget.” 

“Many students never normally get opportunities like this, and they are truly life changing. It’s great to recognise and reward the hard work of roofing apprentices and show them what opportunities are available out there in a global industry.” 

CUPA PIZARRAS, with a history spanning over 100 years, stands as the global leader in the production and distribution of natural slate. In fact, one in every two slates installed worldwide originates from CUPA PIZARRAS. 

Learn more about roofing apprenticeships. 

For those interested in learning more about roof slating and tiling training at Leeds College of Building, an Open Event is scheduled for Thursday 19 October 2023, from 5pm to 7 pm at the North Street Campus. Register to attend the event at their website.

Image: Leeds College of Building 
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