In a bid to encourage individuals to get into construction and engineering trades, Russell Roof Tiles has launched a £10,000 bursary for youngsters.

Young people in its two hometowns – Burton on Trent and Lockerbie - will have the opportunity to win one of 10 bursaries, worth £1,000 each for any training directly related to the three areas of industry.

The John Gibson Fund / Bursary – is named after the founder of the roof tile manufacturer, which was established 50 years ago. John Gibson’s daughter Mark Colborn visited Russell Roof Tiles to launch the bursary.

The fund can be used for education or training, to pay for clothing, books and other equipment for a course, transport and lunch, while training.

The bursary has been created by Russell Roof Tiles’ managing director, Andrew Hayward, who is keen to support and encourage youngsters looking for a career. He said: “There is a huge skills gap in manufacturing, construction and engineering, so it is vital that businesses like ours invest in the long-term.

“According to recent figures announced, 630,000 young people aged between 16-24 were unemployed, so despite this high youth unemployment, just like other manufacturers we struggle to attract young people who want to work hard, but also be trained and be well rewarded for their efforts.

“This bursary will be available to any young person in these areas who needs additional help with their training or studies.”

As part of the launch, the company is also looking for partners to come forward to assist with education and professional training for the youngsters awarded the bursary.

Russell Roof Tiles has three manufacturing sites, covering a total of 23 acres and manufactures concrete roof tiles and accessories. In total, the business employs a team of 170 across its factories.

As a whole the company already has 50 young members of staff – under 30. They have been recognised for their flourishing talents by Andrew Hayward, who is a firm believer of nurturing young talent.

Mr Hayward added: “We are in a huge growth sector and we have seen turnover double in the last five years. There are still many dynamic British manufacturers thriving, which rely on youngsters joining the industry, and I hope this new bursary will encourage talented young people in their career.”

Picture caption: L-r: Andrew Hayward and Bruce Laidlaw from Russell Roof Tiles with Paul and Mary Colburn (daughter of John Gibson).