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Findings released from apprenticeships research project

An audience of nearly 100 people gathered at the House of Lords on 29 July, to hear the outcome of research into Apprenticeships and Professional Recognition in the plumbing and heating industry.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and SummitSkills led the research project, which was funded by the Gatsby Foundation.

Information was gathered over a 12-week period from focus groups and questionnaires.

Around 800 individuals, employees and owner/directors of business across the plumbing and heating sector took part.

SummitSkills general manager Nigel Hollett said: “We have been involved in the development of apprenticeships for many years and we are pleased to be acting as the secretariat for this project.

“We hope this research will provide a valuable springboard to the development of a new apprenticeship standard that builds on the excellent work undertaken by employers and other stakeholders to date.”

The main survey spanned a three-week period, with 500 employers, individuals and industry organisations responding.

It explored how the present apprenticeship system for the plumbing and heating sector is currently working.

One of its aims was to identify support amongst micro SMEs for professional recognition, such as Engineering Council registration.


Here are a few of the findings:

•  98% of respondents think it is important that the plumbing and heating industry should collectively promote career progression;·
•  Over 83% think Apprenticeships should lead towards registration with Engineering Council at EngTech level;
• 97% think it is important for the industry to recruit more apprentices;
•  Only 40% think that the current qualification system is fit for purpose and meets the needs of apprentices, employers and the industry as a whole.

It is hoped that the findings of the research will help in developing a new, employer-led ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeship for the industry.

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