In his inaugural speech as the President of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), Mark Antrobus outlined his key priorities for improving the quality of new entrants and changes in how the gas registration body operates.
In his speech, Mark explained how the closure of SummitSkills had led to APHC, BPEC and SNIPEF setting up a new body, The Plumbing & Domestic Heating Skills Partnership, to oversee the development of plumbing and heating qualifications and apprenticeships.
However, Mark voiced his long-term concerns over the financing of training and apprenticeships: “A strong message needs to go to government because, as an industry that is made up of largely micro businesses, we cannot be expected to fund all the necessary apprenticeship and qualification design, development and quality assurance work. We need some level of government support to fund this vital work.”
Mark also outlined how he believed the industry needs to put an end to full-time college-based training, how the demand for training needs to be led by the number of placements available from employers and how government needs to properly incentivise employers to train apprentices.
He went on to voice his concerns over how the industry’s gas registration body operates: “There is a need for greater enforcement action in penalising those responsible for dangerous gas work and further legislation banning these individuals from re-registering.
“I also believe that further work is necessary around the way in which those aspiring to develop a gas installation and maintenance career can prove competence. Time and again we see the outcomes in the form of dangerous gas work resulting from the various fast track training solutions. ACS was not meant as a vehicle for training new entrants, its purpose is for use with experienced operatives.”
Mark concluded his speech by saying that if these points are not addressed then he believes gas registrants are likely to react in much the same way as they did when the CGSC Scheme was launched.
Mark made his speech at APHC’s President’s Dinner, which was held at the Priest House Hotel in Donington on 17 June. Mark runs Millside Heating Services, which is based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, and is a member of the board of Directors at APHC and BPEC.