With news recently revealed that Sika Roofing’s Senior Trainer Paul Mahon has been shortlisted as Trainer of Year in the 2022 Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA) Awards, we sit down with Paul to discuss his fantastic contributions to Liquid Applied Membrane training over recent years.

The finalists for the 2022 Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA) Awards were announced this January and Sika Roofing was delighted to see that not only had two projects been shortlisted -Chesil Cliff House for Liquid Roofing Project of the Year <1000m2 with Western Flat Roofing and Admiral Lord Nelson School for Liquid Roofing Project of the Year >1000m2 with Davis Roofing - but that Senior Trainer Paul Mahon has been recognised as one of just three individuals in the running to be crowned Trainer of the Year.

A panel of independent judges, including specifiers and technical experts, drew up the project shortlist based on strict criteria, including project complexity, standard of workmanship, evidence of problem solving and aesthetics, while the Trainer of Year is a closed category that is nominated and awarded by the association.

Although the winners won’t be announced until an event in March this year, we took the opportunity to applaud Paul for his placement in the finals and find out how he has continued to stay positive and resilient during challenging times.

"“Having actively worked in training in the liquids industry for over 13 years – a career that started with a trial opportunity at Sika and has grown to the position I hold today – I’ve experienced first-hand how industry-leading both Sika’s and LRWA’s training offering truly is,” says Paul, whose work with LRWA is one of the main reasons for his nomination. “Over the past few years, I’ve been asked by the LRWA to get involved in their unique apprenticeship programme, which specialises in training future roofers on how to expertly install liquid waterproofing systems. I offer specific training in Sika’s Liquid Applied Membrane systems, including how to apply them, demonstrating the full roof build up and showing exactly what a Sika Field Technician looks for when on site,” he explains. " Paul Mahon

The course covers all aspects of roofing, but has a particular emphasis on liquid applications and the technical and practical aspects of using the differing chemistries within the liquid roofing industry.

Applauded by both Sika and LRWA for his positivity, resilience and flexibility, particularly through the past two challenging years, Paul goes on to explain some of the difficulties he has overcome: “During the last couple of very trying years, the construction industry has had to carry on, while Sika’s purpose-built Training Academy was forced to temporarily close due to Government-enforced restrictions. This meant we needed to show flexibility, and visit contractors for training rather than inviting them to us - all while being mindful of the different and ever-changing rules across England, Wales and Scotland. On a positive note, this change has seen me train in some weird and wonderful locations, one of the strangest being a grave digger’s yard in Wales after the contractor’s father, a grave digger, cleared out his shed for us to set up training!”

Paul’s demonstrations of adaptability not only play into where he can train, but what he can train. “We offer a huge variety of training - covering BUR flat roofing, metal roofs, gutters etc.,” he says. “But we tailor the training as much as possible by talking to the contractor about what they will be doing on site - the more details they can give us the better we can adapt our offering to meet contractors’ exacting requirements.”

As well as apprentices and contractors, Sika’s training offering also extends to specifiers. “For the specifier, it’s not only important for us to communicate that we work with certified contractors, but that training is available for them too in the forms of CPDs and knowledge centre courses.

“We also run Training Support Vehicle (TSV) demos as part of our CPDs,” adds Paul. “This involves us doing a full demonstration of the system build up, which always sees a fantastic response from architects, building surveyors and other specifiers. We often find there is lots of intrigue, plenty of questions asked, and feedback is that it’s so much better live compared to watching a demo on TV.”

Concluding, we ask Paul what is the one thing that sets Sika apart from others in terms of the training offering? “It’s the investment that Sika puts into technology - training on the use of advanced products makes ours and the contractors’ lives so much easier,” he says. “One of the latest innovations to come from the company, for example, is the Sika Decothane Ultra Base Coat. It is a completely low odour, cold-applied, elastic, polyurethane base coat that incorporates Sika's unique i-Cure technology. With hugely improved workability and fast curing, it is the best thing I have ever used. ”

A credit to Sika Roofing’s training department, we wish Paul the best of luck in the finals next month.