Charlie Mullins believes training up new plumbers is key to economic recovery.

On Friday, The Evening Standard joined the list of publications reporting that Britain’s economy is recovering…and guess which profession is among those leading the way? Plumbing of course!

Official figures reported that, over the past four years, dole claims have fallen across London at a colossal rate, with plumbing, heating and ventilating engineers reporting an impressive 78% decrease in payments.

With less people claiming benefits compared to when the coalition began, these figures are a real testament to the success of our government and give solid proof of how vital the role of skilled tradesmen and women is in working the UK out of recession.

Here at Pimlico Plumbers these statistics come as no surprise. I’m delighted to say that we’ve noticed a huge demand in people looking to kick-start their career in plumbing, especially through our apprenticeship scheme. Although as a company we pride ourselves in being keen promoters of apprenticeships, we receive over 300 applications per month, so sadly have to turn the vast majority of applicants down.

As I often say, apprenticeships are the way forward to a skilled career for life that can be taken with you anywhere around the world, while giving you the potential to earn lot of money! We will always need experienced tradesmen but, without these apprenticeships, we’re in danger of the supply not meeting demand. That’s why I’ve started an online petition to try and build a skilled workforce for Britain, by giving the youth of today a future through apprenticeships.

We’ve been helping the government out with apprenticeship advice a lot recently, and I’m hopeful that our apprenticeship scheme will get some recognition in the small business and enterprise bill. As some of you may know, I kick-started my career as a plumbing apprentice, and with the Prime Minister promising 3000 new apprenticeships at the Conservative Party Conference, I’m thrilled to see we’re finally making some proper progress. But there’s still a long way to go.

I’ve been urging the government to turn Job Seekers Allowance into a Job Achiever’s Allowance as a way of offsetting company training costs, reducing unemployment in young people and building a skilled workforce for the future. But most importantly this would give businesses like Pimlico Plumbers the opportunity to provide employment to the hundreds of deserving applicants who are actively searching for work.

And it’s not just apprenticeships that we’re hiring for, so don’t throw in the towel just yet. We’ve been doing a massive recruitment drive over the last few months, which has been really successful, but we’re actually planning to take it much, much further. We really are going all out on our expansion and my aim is to take on 500 new staff in two years – but I’ve been told I’m crazy… so I’ll settle on three! We had an impressive 15 new starters in September and topped that in October with over 20 joining the team. I’m confident we will go beyond that in November as my recruitment team tell me they’ve already lined up some starting dates.

Call me ambitious, but with some of our tradesman earning up to £4000 per week, it isn’t really any surprise that applications have been flooding in!

Charlie Mullins is the founder of Pimlico Plumbers