Ian Pattle, the new national president of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), has called on the industry to support a single competency scheme.

Speaking during his inaugural president's dinner on 16 June, Pattle called on the industry to come together in support of a single competency scheme and embrace the benefits that a co-ordinated industry led scheme would bring to all.

Pattle, who owns and manages Heat Plumb Supplies and has trained many apprentices during his career, said: “Those of you who know me will know that I have always promoted high standards and training in our industry, fast track methods are not an option for me.

"When it comes to apprenticeships, you – the employers and the colleges have responsibilities to those trainees to ensure that they have the best facilities and tutors available. That way we can ensure that quality and professional workmanship levels are maintained. Our successes in the 2011 World Skills Event are testament to this.”

Pattle added: "I have campaigned for many years for a License to Practice and many have pledged their support of the concept but we have been unable to get it off the ground. So is the answer our single competency scheme? If we were to combine the plethora of schemes out there into one single co–ordinated industry led scheme it would simplify and help remove the fragmentation that exists and help reduce costs – paramount in today’s economy.

One co-ordinated voluntary self managed scheme will give building services businesses better reason to participate in any future green initiatives, something very much on the government agenda for the future. A voluntary scheme often has better credibility than a compulsory run scheme and has the advantage of being more in tune with current government policy that is intent on the removal of ‘red tape’ – in a nutshell it is unlikely that Government would be prepared to introduce mandatory legislation in this area.

"Early indications from the APHC work is that the vast majority of contractors are in favour of the new scheme and if we can get government departments on side it should be a success or should I say it must be a success.

"I intend to help by promoting the scheme during my engagements throughout my presidential year. It is a great honour to have been appointed President of such a prestigious organisation, and I will use my year as President of APHC to try and make a difference in the industry at home and abroad.”