The lead UK plumbing employers organisations APHC and SNIPEF with SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Councilfor building services engineering - which includes the plumbing and heating industry - recognise the level 2 or 3 S/NVQ as being the minimum requirement for entry into short courses such as water regulations or bylaws.
The three bodies have seen a startlingincrease over the past 5 years in both private and public training facilities throughout the UK using short courses as a means to train unskilled workers for what they mistakenly think is a course that makes them fully trained and results in themmarketing themselves as plumberswhich they are not.
Clive Dickin, CEO of APHC, comments: "It is disturbing to see a centre putting candidates in a few weeks through a range of short courses with no core skills and allowing the candidate to believe that they are trained as a plumber. The industry minimum is a level 2 or 3 NVQ. "These short courses were originally designed to allow fully trained and skilled plumbing and heating installers to up-skill in new technologies or legislation. For them now to be hijacked and misrepresented to enthusiastic candidates for nothing more than profit, putting consumers at risk is grossly wrong."
SNIPEFs Director & Secretary, Robert Burgon, agrees and says that: "Many thousands of people havebenefitedfrom this training either to supplement their industry qualifications or as part of their formal apprenticeship training. We are concerned that some centres have used the materials inappropriately. It is tragic to see unsuspecting people being lured into short training programmes on the promise that this will qualify them as plumbers. Our joint action will hopefully ensure that this practice stops and the short courses will be used properly in the future." The associations are supported in their policy by SummitSkills promoting the critical need for all individuals to work towards achievement of their full NVQ or SVQ qualifications.
Keith Marshall, CEO of SummitSkills, shares the associations concerns: "The aim of the policy is to ensure every individual that undertakes plumbing training works towards and achieves the industry recognised plumbing qualifications, by developing and promoting the policy. SummitSkills and the trade associations are demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that individuals obtain the industry required skills levels demanded throughout the sector."
The first certification body to sign-up to this new standard is BPEC, the industry-leading provider of course material and certification services. Frank Glover, Chairman of BPEC, comments: "BPECs products and services has always been designed to improve plumbers knowledge and competence and we are pleased to sign up to this new standard, to improve overall standards in the industry.
We will shortly be communicating with our centres and putting in place a policy that supports this stance. "I am sure that all certification and training providers will wish to follow BPECs lead in creating a sustainable and quality workforce in the plumbing and heating sector."