The bi-annual World Championship for Young Roofers (IFD) has just taken place in Warsaw and once again, Team GB did us proud. Not only did they put on an impressive display of skill and talent, the flat roofing team scooped the coveted President Prize for innovation. Congratulations goes to the four individuals involved, they are all worthy winners.

However, there’s one GB team member in particular who deserves a special mention, and that’s Donal Harkin of D. Harkin & Co Limited, based in Northern Ireland. Donal not only flew the flag for Team GB in the pitched roofing category in Poland, he has an extraordinary legacy of roofing skills competitions success.

Donal Harkin

Making his competition debut in 2013, he scooped the Northern Ireland Selected Apprentice and Apprentice of the Year Reggie Blair Trophy - which he then on went to win the following two years. Thereafter, there’s been no stopping him; with the highlight of his competition journey todate being a gold medal win at UK SkillBuild 2015 - and that was with a badly injured finger!                      

But what’s remarkable is that Donal is not the only member of the Harkin family who has been bitten by the competition bug. Alongside Colum Harkin - Donal’s Uncle - who is an adjudicator for the IFD and NFRC, Stephen Harkin - Donal’s brother - has an equally impressive legacy of competition success.

Stephen collected medals at Skill Build Northern Ireland in 2010 and 2011, the IFD Bronze medal in 2014 and was Gold Medal Winner Leeds College in 2011. Add to that two Apprentice of the Year accolades, the prestigious IFD Lucerne Switzerland President Award 2012, plus numerous other achievements, and it’s safe to say that he is also a star of roofing skills competitions!

We caught up with Donal after this year’s IFD and asked him why he has given so much commitment to skills competitions over the years. Here’s what he had to say: “Initially, the competitions provided the perfect opportunity to learn new things and develop my roofing skills, but it soon became all about challenging myself and taking my skills to the next level.”

Of course, Donal is immensely proud of his achievements and those of his brother, but he believes that the cudos also goes to the company he works for. Keeping it in the family, of course, it’s none other than Danny Harkin - Donal’s father - who runs the company!

Donal concludes: “Skills competitions may be hard work, but they’re worth it. There’s no better opportunity to meet new people, to travel in the UK and overseas and above all, to have fun. For anyone who’s considering having a go, I say you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.”

The next young roofers skills competition takes place 17th - 19th November 2016 at the NEC Birmingham, the national final of SkillBuild.