Having recently joined as Technical Director, Paul Harmer explains why he is proud to be part of the CIPHE’s drive to highlight professionalism and best practice in the industry.
I started my career in the industry around 22 years ago in the same way as many of my colleagues at the CIPHE by becoming an apprentice plumbing and heating engineer at 18. I decided I wanted to become a qualified electrician too, which I did to help keep my options open and complement my installation skills.
After a few years of getting some experience under my belt, I took a break from my career and went to university to study Sports Technology. Having always been a keen footballer, this prompted me to follow my dream of playing full-time and I subsequently spent a full year on the pitch in America.
Back to the day job
On my return, I was able to put everything I had learnt in my early plumbing and electrical engineering career into practice. To begin with I worked as a self-employed installer, and it wasn’t long before I started to get involved with the installation of renewable technologies. As with my electrical qualifications, I have always liked to keep my options open. I then moved on to work with a German software company with a view to gaining experience of plumbing and heating engineering design. I stayed there for a good few years before becoming a product development, design and engineering consultant for a heating controls manufacturer in Australia. This was a diverse role but a fantastic experience, as I set up the technical infrastructure for a warm water underfloor heating range.
I next became Head of Engineering for the German building services software and design company in the UK. Alongside this, I ran my own business carrying out research and development into emerging technologies. In recent years I have invented and created various intellectual property and setup manufacturing for a number of products – continuing to work as a freelance consultant until joining the CIPHE in June this year.
Arriving at the CIPHE
At the age of 40, I now have a range of experience to bring to the role of Technical Director. I am already involved with building bridges with colleges, the development and delivery of qualifications to members via the Institute, writing technical articles and establishing a new technical team to work with in the months ahead.
This is a particularly interesting year to have joined the CIPHE. In early 2016, Kevin Wellman and his team embarked upon a new campaign to encourage members and non-members alike to be ‘Proud to be a Professional’. This initiative concentrates on the need to attract more young people to embark on careers in the plumbing and heating trade and the importance of qualified professionals consistently delivering the best possible service for consumers – especially the vulnerable in society.
Proud to be a Professional
From my point of view, being ‘Proud to be a Professional’ is all about continuing to raise and maintain standards of workmanship by encouraging and helping plumbing and heating engineers to invest time in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It’s also about giving engineers a voice and highlighting the great work that happens all over the UK from day to day.
If you would like to become a member of the CIPHE, please contact the team at www.ciphe.org.uk or call 01708 472791.