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HPM-12-DEC-2016

SkillPLUMB gold medal winner is Gareth Jones The SkillPLUMB competition 2016 has named Gareth Jones, 22, from Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training and D B Lewis & Son, as UK champion after he excelled in an intensive three-day practical exercise at the Birmingham NEC Skills Show. Closely watched by judges and over 75,000 visitors to the show, Gareth and his fellow finalists had to install a small sealed domestic central heating system with expansion vessel, pump and ancillary equipment, inclusive of three small bespoke radiators, a simulated hot water cylinder, a boiler mounting jig together with associated copper pipework. The task had to be completed within a strict timeframe and was marked against tough criteria including joint quality, bend angles and clearance and measuring and marking out, which had to be accurate within +/- 2mm. Taking second place and a silver medal was Ben Randoll, 22, of Bridgwater College and Handiheat. Third place and a bronze medal went to David Blewett, 22, from Moray College UHI and Phil Bird ZETGAS. All finalists received a BPEC gas training manual, tools and CIPHE membership, workwear including safety boots, vouchers and certificate. Gareth will also get the opportunity to take part in the Grundfos Installer Championship, being held at the ISH trade exhibition next year in Frankfurt. 12 NEWS DESK APHC issues work quality warning The immediacy of consumer expectations and rise of a Millennial ‘I want it now’ culture is putting householders at risk of dangerous and sub-standard work, the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has warned. Research carried out by APHC revealed that only half of the 2,000 householders questioned would be prepared to wait two weeks for the start of a major home improvement before looking for another tradesperson with more availability – potentially sacrificing quality for a job done quickly. Following reports of APHC members missing out on jobs due to consumers not wanting to delay, the findings confirm that only 12% of those surveyed would be willing to wait more than four weeks for a major non urgent project or improvement, such as a new bathroom or a boiler upgrade to begin. Despite these being considerable financial investments, the on-demand nature of consumers’ decision-making is also showing an increase in members called out to fix sub-standard work as customer patience is being exploited by rogue traders prepared to cut corners, turn Homeowners would not be happy if they had to wait for more than a fortnight for a plumber or heating contractor to start work on a job a blind eye to Building Regulations, or leave work unfinished. Alarmingly, 38% of people questioned said they would not be concerned or question why a tradesman had immediate capacity to start a major project. As with many services, professional and reliable traders are often in high demand due to the quality and reputation they have established with a healthy pipeline of jobs booked in. In addition, they allow realistic timeframes dedicated to each job to avoid juggling projects. In some cases, immediate availability should ring alarm bells with consumers of this being due to sub-standard work, a bad reputation or unrealistic pricing to complete the work. A further 24% said they were unsure if they should be concerned about the lack of demand. John Thompson, chief executive of APHC, said: “Our members have over time seen a definite shift in the expectations of consumers who make a decision and want the finished product as soon as possible rather than prioritising the longer term view of an excellent job, carried out by a qualified expert. “We’re familiar with the saying ‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur’ – in this case waiting time can also impact upon costs. “Unless it’s an emergency, when speed is crucial, reputable plumbing companies are in demand for a good reason and as a result, have a steady customer base booking in jobs and this is the case for all trades, not just plumbers,” he said. “For the sake of waiting a few more weeks for a new bathroom, we would recommend consumers pausing to get the job done properly the first time around.” Installers willing to pay to train A new survey has revealed that the price tag is one of the last things installers look for when choosing a training provider. In complete contrast, industry experience, company reputation and added extras, such as free support materials, scored higher. The findings by training provider, Logic4training, show the discerning nature of the industry, where learners value quality training provision and are willing to pay more for a better service. Almost half of the 200 respondents said that they would consider a higher price tag for courses run by trainers with real industry experience, with reputation coming in second at 40%. Unsurprisingly, in a sector where many installers’ diaries are full, the capability to offer flexible learning options, such as weekend, evening or a part-time course, was flagged up as valuable. In fact, over 30% said they might pay more for these options. Free support material to aid revision was also identified as important. Kevin Budd, managing director at Logic4training, said: "Overall, this survey shows how much the industry has moved in terms of candidate expectations.” For more information, including full results of the survey, visit: https://www.logic4training.co.uk/ blog/training/price-point-surveyresults/. www.hpmmag.com December 2016 Striking gold: Gareth with Neil Collishaw, charity manager at BPEC


HPM-12-DEC-2016
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