The findings from research into apprenticeships in the plumbing and heating industry was recently discussed at the House of Lords, in an event hosted by Baroness Wall of New Barnet.

Nearly 100 people attended the presentation on 29 July to hear the outcome of the research project, which was led by the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and SummitSkills, and funded by the Gatsby Foundation.

Information was gathered over a 12-week period from focus groups and questionnaires, and around 800 individuals across the plumbing and heating sector took part. The main survey itself spanned a three-week period, with 500 employers, individuals and industry organisations responding. It explored how the present apprenticeship system for the plumbing and heating sector is currently working, and one of its aims was to identify support among micro SMEs for professional recognition, such as Engineering Council registration.

Some of the findings included:

It is hoped that the findings of the research will help in developing a new, employer-led ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeship for the industry.

Kevin Wellman, chief executive of the CIPHE, said: “The response from industry has been overwhelming and I commend all those who have participated so far in this important research. It recognises the need for meaningful apprenticeships and the value of professional recognition.

“We are especially grateful to the Gatsby Foundation for funding support for the research. The collaboration between the trade associations, training organisations and the CIPHE in encouraging employers to develop future apprenticeship standards is vital and I hope that the government recognises this by sanctioning a plumbing and heating Trailblazer.”