The Apprenticeship Assessment Plan for England has now been approved by government, according to The Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Apprenticeship Board.

The Assessment Plan provides a prospectus for students, training providers and assessing organisations, detailing what is involved in the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship will typically take 48 months to complete, with successful completion resulting in an NVQ Level 3 Plumbing & Heating Qualification.

The apprentices will undertake a structured programme of study while in suitable employment and will complete on-programme training and assessment involving a series of knowledge based and practical assessments. Successful completion will result in a grade being awarded of either a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

The overriding goal of the Apprenticeship Qualification is to deliver an appropriately skilled plumbing and heating workforce in England, able to work at a 'world-class' standard.

For companies that are members of a Competent Person Scheme (CPS) and the Gas Safe Register, the Apprenticeship Qualification will deliver individuals who meet the competence requirements to be able to work through a CPS for oil and solid fuel and the Gas Safe Register for gas.

The Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Apprenticeship Board was formed in December 2016 to ensure the future success of English plumbing and domestic heating apprenticeships. Now that the Assessment Plan has been approved, the Board is now in dialogue with government over the technical detail.

Moving forward, the Board, in consultation with industry stakeholders and delivery partners, will ensure that the Assessment Specification is robust enough and that the correct equipment and procedures are being used by training providers. Ultimately, the Board will be responsible for ensuring that there will be adoption and industry compliance with the approved Quality Assurance Processes, which are detailed in the approved Assessment Plan.

The Board was assembled by and is administered by the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE), who joined forces to create an industry partnership set on producing a world-class plumbing and heating workforce.

The Board is made up of six qualified and experienced employers from the plumbing and domestic heating industry including: Paul Hull (managing director, The Industria Group); Jeffrey Lee (national apprentices manager, Mitie Technical Facilities Management); Nigel Davies (operations manager heating services, Certas Energy UK); Gerald Mack (owner and senior engineer, Electrical & Heating Maintenance Services); David Merrett (managing director, Merretts Heating Services) and Edward Padgett (director, Arthur Padgett).

Graeme Dryden, APHC's technical services manager, has been involved in developing the Apprenticeship Standard since the project's inception in 2014. He said: "The Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Apprenticeship Board is playing a key role in continuing the work of the previous Employer Group and, working in conjunction with BPEC, City & Guilds, EAL, Baxi Heating, JTL, Leicester College and NAPT, is ensuring the apprenticeships are able to deliver the key skills required while also helping safeguard the long-term development of the plumbing and heating industry."

The Board is working towards an official launch of the new Apprenticeship Standard in January 2018.

Pictured (from left): Kevin McCallister of CIPHE, Edward Padgett, Jeffrey Lee, Paul Hull, Gerald Mack, Nigel Davies.