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HPM September 2017

top of everything else we already have to deal with. CH: I think you’ve got to look at the accuracy of the document before you start trying to amend it. Because the EPC in my property didn’t specify whether there was any cavity wall insulation – even though there was – I had to pay for somebody to come out and tell me what I already knew. Powered Now suggests that paperwork is the least favourite part of running a heating and plumbing business. Do you agree, or are there other areas of your job that you find more frustrating? SL: You get into the industry because you want to be hands-on – nobody wants to do paperwork. KJ: It’s true. Not even the sewage jobs are as bad as the paperwork! CH: The thing that I find most frustrating is the duplication of paperwork. You fill out the commissioning certificate and maybe a second commissioning document, depending on who you work for. Then you fill out your CP12. Then you register the appliance. You’re writing down the same information over and over again – there must be a way of sharing information and streamlining the process in the digital age. HPM is a media partner for a conference taking place this month called Women Installers Together, which aims to unite a 37 S P E C I A L R E P O R T gender. Are there enough women in the industry and if not, how can this be rectified? KJ: Our company has actively encouraged women to join, and we’ve had three or four female members of staff come in. The big thing for me is that there isn’t enough encouragement generally for “I think apprentices these days are quite mollycoddled. They’re not allowed to do some of the jobs because of the risks involved, or if you tell them off they go to HR” young people who aren’t necessarily that academic – boys or girls. At most schools, you’re forced to take the standard curriculum and sit exams, and there isn’t enough exposure to the other options that are available. CH: You do tend to find that female apprentices have stronger English, Maths and IT skills so there’s no reason they shouldn’t excel. But you’ve got to show people what they can do from an earlier age, and explain why those skills are important for both sexes. KJ: It would be interesting to compare the number of women in the industry with how many there were 10-15 years ago. The figure www.hpmmag.com September 2017 could be rising, so we might well be on the right track already. Insurance company, Zurich, has revealed that more than half of Britain’s small and medium sized companies are currently waiting for overdue bills to be settled. What do you do to ensure you receive the money you are owed on completion of a job? CJ: On the domestic side of things, it’s generally not too difficult. Once you’ve finished a job, you tend to get paid. On the commercial side, it’s different. Contractors can try to knock money off for one reason or another, and it’s difficult to fight that when you’re a small company. The Building Engineering Services Association has said that it is receiving record numbers of enquiries from people interested in taking up apprenticeships. Do you think this is the most effective way of securing a career in the heating and plumbing industry, or did you follow a different route? CJ: I used to be a printer before being made redundant, and I used my redundancy money to re-train as a heating engineer. I’m not sure apprenticeships are entirely up to what they used to be. We’ve had three apprentices, all of whom have failed dismally due to their attitude. CH: I think we’d all agree that the apprenticeships we carried out were a lot more intense than how they are now. I think people are taught to pass an exam, and students going into Level 3 don’t even know how to do a room calculation. We’ve got rid of more apprentices than we’ve kept. SL: They were stricter, too. I think apprentices these days are quite mollycoddled. They’re not allowed to do some of the jobs because of the risks involved, or if you tell them off they go to HR. enquiry number 119 Sam Hicks and Chris Hughes Listening intently and liking what they hear “Not even the sewage jobs are as bad as the paperwork”


HPM September 2017
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