Kevin Wellman, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) discusses challenges and opportunities for the next 12 months.
One of the key challenges right now is the cost-of-living. It is anticipated that people will take cost-cutting steps that could become dangerous; skipping boiler checks or turning down water temperature, thereby inadvertently letting Legionella bacteria thrive. Therefore, educating the public about these dangers is going to be very important in the coming months and into the new year. Similarly, fuel poverty is a serious concern, so plumbing and heating engineers can be a trusted advisor and provide consumers with guidance on the different product options available.
Once winter has drawn to a close, temperatures will rise and so will the likelihood of droughts and water shortages. We’ve seen unprecedented heat throughout the summer months in 2022, and it has highlighted the need for drought preparedness. This is where engineers can provide continued customer support by monitoring and assessing existing systems to maximise efficiency.
Wider industry issues
From a capacity perspective, the skills shortage prevails. As such, we will be continuing our concerted recruitment efforts to bolster the next generation of plumbing and heating engineers. This will be done through college collaboration and signposting individuals to quality training in a bid to increase the number of qualified professional engineers and stamp out the threat of both rogue trainers and rogue traders.
There is always training available, whether it is upskilling on an existing technology, or to become proficient in new technologies. Along with ongoing training and CPD, there will be greater focus on apprenticeships and career progression which will make our industry more accessible and careers more satisfying.
In line with environmental concerns and net zero objectives, a focus on water and energy efficiency and low carbon technologies will continue in 2023. The goal of the CIPHE has always been to better the lives of our members and the public, and that encompasses sustainable practices. By continuing to promote quality at every opportunity, we can work together to raise the status of plumbing and heating to a higher standard.
From a CIPHE perspective, 2023 will see continued focus on our overarching manifesto of proficiency and professionalism in the plumbing and heating industry. As part of this, we are looking forward to launching an Experienced Workers Route qualification and promoting low temperature qualifications for members and non-members alike. Along with this, we will be encouraging the use of consistent messaging regarding Net Zero across all technologies and fuel types.