CIPHE UPDATE: Trailblazing into 2019

CIPHE UPDATE: Trailblazing into 2019

Kevin Wellman, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), provides an update on the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Trailblazer standard.

Roughly a year on since the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Trailblazer standard was approved on 19 January 2018, our industry must continue to pledge support to the initiative and encourage more employers to provide apprenticeship opportunities.

At the CIPHE, we know that there has never been a greater need for training. Recently, a 2018 survey by the Federation of Master Builders revealed that some 63% of contractors reported difficulty recruiting plumbers. Due to a UK-wide skills shortage, the Trailblazer standard is a much-needed injection of investment when it comes to training apprentices.

Additionally, because the Trailblazer scheme has been developed to ensure that vocational apprenticeship schemes actually deliver the training and skills employers need, those who complete the qualification should be better prepared for the job. In fact, the Trailblazer scheme is the first time that employers have been put in a position of authority when it comes to the training and development of a government-led and approved process.

What you need to know
If you are employing an apprentice this year, then you will need to follow the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Trailblazer standard. The entry requirements are decided by you, the employer, but guidance is given. The typical completion time is likely to be 48 months, but this may be reduced if an apprentice has gained previous relevant knowledge and skills.

You will also need to find a training provider that delivers the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician Trailblazer standard. Usually you can find a provider to work around your needs on a day release (for example one day a week at the training provider’s location), block release (for example 3-4 weeks at the training provider’s location), or at your location to offer training at the workplace.

As part of the Apprenticeship Levy funding, if your business has a payroll of less than £3 million per annum, you will only have to pay 10% towards the cost of providing the training and assessment for your apprentice. The Government will pick up the rest of the tab via the Levy collected from larger businesses.
A further £1000 incentive payment is also offered for anyone recruiting 16-18 or 19-24 year-old apprentices who were formerly in care or who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. This funding is no doubt a great boost to help employ and train an apprentice effectively. However, the benefits don’t stop there – at the CIPHE we have found apprentices to be highly-valued members of a workforce making a real difference to the bottom line of a business.
By the end of this apprenticeship the candidate will have satisfied the requirements for registration as EngTech by the Engineering Council through The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).

If you are reading this and want to appoint an apprentice in 2019, the CIPHE is here to help its members throughout the process. If you aren’t a CIPHE member yet, consider becoming one in 2019 to not only prove your own professionalism, but to get the support you need. Email Tim Sainty, tims@ciphe.org.uk to find out more.

Giving back
If you are looking for an apprentice, register with local training centres and colleges so that they know to refer any promising candidates to you. You can also speak to the CIPHE, as we offer many different membership options, including a ‘Trainee’ category, so we could potentially have someone who is interested and right for your business.

The whole of the CIPHE subscription is allowable for tax relief for members in the UK, and we will also provide a year’s free membership to any plumbing and heating industry apprentice who contacts us if they have been taken on by a CIPHE member’s business.

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