New graduates reach new heights at roofing firm

Pioneering local roof tile manufacturer Russell Roof Tiles has taken on its first two Graduate Trainees in Operations Management at its Lochmaben factory.

The company – which employs 80 staff on an 11-acre site in Halleaths –  produces roof tiles and accessories for the UK’s top house builders and high profile social housing and commercial projects, where sustainability and eco-credentials are of the utmost priority. The company was originally founded as The Annadale Tile Company by John Gibson in 1964, when he purchased the site, which is close to Lockerbie.

The two new graduate recruits are Adam Clark (28) Gelston near Castle Douglas and Aidan Duff (22) who lives in Lochmaben, only a few miles from the factory – who both joined Russells at the early in the summer.

Adam recently qualified with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Napier University, Edinburgh.  He previously spent time in the Army, KOSB – latterly part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, he’s married with two young children.

Aidan joins with a Degree in International Economics with Management from Abertay University, Dundee.  He graduated with a BA (Hons) in 2016 and has spent his last year working as a Development Manager for a Scottish Distiller.  Aidan is a keen footballer and golfer in his spare time.

Bruce Laidlaw, Russell Roof Tiles’ Production Director said “We have never employed graduate trainees for operations, this is completely new for us.  But it’s important to find and nurture the next generation – it’s vital as a growing business we continue to look at investing in the future.  Both Adam and Aidan have now started an extensive training programme covering all key areas of operations at Lochmaben to help fast track them into Russell Roof Tiles management.”

Aidan commented “This is a great opportunity to start my career with such a dynamic local business. I’m really pleased to have been able to secure a trainee role here and everyone has been very welcoming.”

Though the company has been established for over 50 years Russells continually invest in young people, with apprentices, an annual bursary and recruitment open day.

As part of their intensive training programme the duo will also spend time at Russells’ award-winning factory in Burton-upon-Trent in the Midlands.  This site features Russell Roof Tiles UK Technical Training Centre, opened in 2016 and used by customers and contractors from across the country. The facility was opened by the local Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and was created to help train both staff and customers on installing products.

Across its sites Russell Roof Tiles has a total of 68 young members of staff – under 30, including 33 under 25. The senior management team at Russells firmly believe in nurturing young talent in the workforce to enhance the business.

Bruce added comments; “There is a huge skills gap in manufacturing especially the construction sector so it is vital that we find and nurture capable young individuals who we can invest in and help shape the future of the business.”