Plumbing industry expert, WaterSafe has asserted that a reform to the current approach to apprenticeships is vital if the plumbing sector is to meet future demand.
According to recent research1, although employment levels are at an all-time high, particularly in the construction domain, there are still 943,000 young people in the UK who are not in education, employment or training (Neets).
The consensus from trade associations is that the issue is one of a skills shortage, particularly when it comes to the trade sector. Currently, one in ten jobs in Britain are in construction yet many are outsourced to sub-contractors from overseas as there simply isn’t the skills set in the UK to fulfil the burgeoning demand.
Julie Spinks, director at WaterSafe comments: “It is a travesty to think that we have so much opportunity in the UK trade industry yet so many young people are still out of work.
“The issue is clearly one of a lack of investment in apprenticeships whereby, as a result of the tough recessional years, trade businesses simply haven’t had the money or resource to invest in training new starters. However, this is something as an industry we must address and rapidly – or face simply not having the resources to fulfil our construction goals.”
Most recently the Government announced its Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill which sets out to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020 by providing young people with the support, skills and experience they need to fulfil their potential. In addition, it launched a new level 3 Apprenticeship standard for Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technicians in March to aid entrants looking to enter into the industry.
Julie adds “It is great to see the Government pledge more commitment and funding to apprenticeships. After all, they are the lifeblood of any trade and vital to boosting productivity and enhancing our skills set as the sector continues to thrive. And of course, we would urge any apprentices starting out in the plumbing sector to register with WaterSafe once they have their qualifications.”
For further information please visit www.watersafe.org.uk
A new level 3 Apprenticeship standard for Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technicians was launched in March 2015 as part of the Government’s Trailblazer programme. The standard, developed by a stakeholder group comprising SummitSkills, APHC, CIPHE, BPEC, Unite, JTL, City & Guilds, EAL and Logic, has been designed to more effectively meet the needs of the industry and includes a number of improvements that will benefit both the learner and their employer. Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-standard-plumbing-and-domestic-heating-technician