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New plumbing qualification unveiled

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) and City & Guilds have entered into a five-year agreement to create a ‘badge of competence’ for plumbing and heating engineers.

The qualification is designed to give consumers the ability to easily identify a qualified, skilled and professional plumbing and heating engineer.

The jointly-branded ‘The Plumbing Qualification’, will aim to raise standards within the industry, and seek to reward those who meet the highest standards of education and service.

Clive Dickin, chief executive of APHC, said: “Consumers have been crying out for a foolproof way of how to tell a good plumbing and heating engineer from a bad one – and this is it. This initiative means that consumers need to look no further than to see if their engineer has a ‘The Plumbing Qualification’ logo on the van or advert.

“The good news is that this means no extra hoops to jump through for those companies who have already shown their commitment to quality by taking City & Guilds qualifications and joining APHC. In fact, it is their input, via APHC, that has helped shape City & Guilds’ qualifications and continued professional development training.

“We sincerely hope that this is a significant milestone in the drive to rid the country of rogue traders and to ensure an ever-increasing number of consumers are able to choose a qualified, skilled and reliable plumbing and heating engineer.”

Chris Jones, Director-General of City & Guilds, added: “The initiative was prompted by significant changes occurring within an increasingly diverse and complex industry, including new technologies and regulation. This highlighted a need for continuous professional development and training for plumbing and heating engineers in order to provide a high standard of service to customers.

“Today’s plumbing and heating engineer requires a greater understanding of new technologies and skills, as well as competency in legally advising clients on the best option available for their needs whether it’s solar heating, ground source heat pumps or one of the more conventional products.”

The initiative will focus on two core areas:

- Improving the level of customer service (to level 3/equivalent to an ‘A’ level) provided by plumbing and heating engineers through training and development.

- Continuous professional development for APHC members to ensure they keep their technical expertise up-to-date and comply with regulations around building, sanitary installation, water and heating.

APHC members who comply will be able to promote APHC/City & Guilds recognition on their vans and promotional material. The initiative will be backed by APHC’s Code of Practice, which is enshrined in the APHC Licensed Plumber Scheme.

This Code of Practice should be honoured by all members and where a problem occurs, complaints are managed through a customer helpline.