APHC president Kevin McCallister.

APHC splits from BPEC

Published:  30 July, 2010

LONDON: The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors has sold its 50% stake in BPEC Services and has immediately stopped endorsing its certification products for the foreseeable future.

Speaking about the move, the Association’s president, Kevin McCallister, commented:“High quality vocational education is sustainable, with employers training their staff and apprentices as business demands. However, training providers in the UK seem to have become complacent. Many consider short courses to be acceptable forms of qualification to be a plumbing and heating engineer – but these providers are not demanding the bedrock skills such as an NVQ 2 as a pre-requisite prior to short course training.

“APHC is very dissatisfied with the way that certification organisations are complicit in this inappropriate training. After many years APHC has sadly decided to separate from its short course training provider partner as some of its centres offer this type of training and, more broadly, allow trainees to use the certification logo which confuses consumers and allows trainees to compete unfairly with fully qualified contractors.

“We are already fighting the battle against rogue trainers so we do not need to also find certification bodies providing courses and certificates to people who are not qualified to be taking them. CPD is an important part of a qualified plumber’s development, but these courses must not be taken by people who do not have the skills to use the training correctly but just want pieces of paper to put on the wall to provide apparent legitimacy.

“It is time the industry had a more robust and simplified route through training. We encourage all in the industry to ask themselves before placing candidates or themselves on training courses: will their actions fundamentally undermine their industry and support a training culture that looks only for bums on seats? Please, when booking a course ask if the provider or certification body you are buying services from allows a candidate to call themselves a plumber after only a few days training and certification. Ask the provider themselves and it’s worth checking out internet discussion forums to see what other people are saying.

“Looking ahead, APHC has had a long-standing relationship with an awarding body delivering quality vocational qualifications and is working very closely with its partner, ensuring recognised vocational training with experience is the standard and sustainable entry route for the industry. Together we will be developing short course solutions in the near future to meet the needs of responsible and ethical employers.”

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