‘Roofing has always been in my blood!’ 37 years of service for flat roofer, William Wilson

Outside of work, flat roofer, William Wilson, is a big Manchester United fan, following the team all of his life. Away from work and his passion for football, William enjoys walking in the countryside with his dog.

I have been at Hodgson Sayers for 37 years, joining in 1982. Roofing has always been in my blood!

My uncle is Billy Hodgson, executive chairman at Hodgson Sayers and from a young age I was taught the trade, it was something that always appealed to me.

Contracts manager, Colin Howey and myself began our careers as flat roofing apprentices and we have built a very good friendship over the years.

I remember our training back in 1984 saw us travel to Leeds, where we spent time learning our skills in a big factory unit.

Colin’s uncle, Harry McMahon, also played a big part in developing my skill-set and proved to be a very good mentor to me and this is something that I hope I have passed on to our young generation.

As you can imagine, I have worked on projects large and small regionally and nationally.

A stand-out project was working on the Byker Wall. It was fantastic to help restore this iconic landmark.

I have seen the company grow to three offices, one of which is in the Midlands and I am currently working on a large housing project in Crowngate, Birmingham.

The highlight of my career and a very humbling moment for me was being named Tradesman of the Year, 2014, at an industry awards ceremony in London.

I had no idea that I was nominated, so to actually win it was incredible! It was a special moment to be recognised not just by the company but the industry itself.

Looking back, it’s interesting to see how the sector has changed so much. Health and safety is dominant and there is now far more paperwork to do.

Our trade has also evolved over the years. New methods include the introduction of a flat roof covering solution with three layers of felt welded onto a roof surface using an ignition controlled torch to create an impenetrable waterproof seal.

We also all undertake regular training to ensure our first aid, thermally activated felt and liquid applied membrane knowledge is up-to-date.

It has also been really interesting to see the enthusiasm and hunger of our young team. All of them work extremely hard and push each other on. Last year flat roofer, Kieran Forster, won the Icopal national apprentice of the year award and pitched roofers, Jordan Condren and David Crank won silver and bronze at WorldSkills UK.

Why have I remained at the company for so long? It’s down to the fact I feel recognised and acknowledged for my work and I respect the people.

For example, Derek Nicholson and Ian Hebron are in my team and Derek, like me, has been at the company for over 30 years and that creates a very strong bond.