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Tracey Richardson becomes first female CIPHE president

Ms Richardson underlines concerns over the quality of training and further education as key focuses for her tenure

Tracey Richardson has been elected as the president of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).

Ms Richardson’s appointment was backed during the CIPHE Annual General Meeting late last month, making her the first female to hold the role.  Christopher Northey was meanwhile voted vice president at the AGM.

The organisation’s new president spent 22 years serving in the RAF as an aircraft technician before discharging as a sergeant with qualifications in both engineering and aeronautical engineering, before moving into further education and plumbing.

Ms Richardson has identified training as a key focus for the next twelve months, citing her experience as a plumbing lecturer and some concerns she holds about teaching in some cases.

She said, “The quality of delivery in some colleges worries me and I have often raised this concern to others. Don’t get me wrong, some colleges and centres do a really good job, but it appears that we are coming across quite a few that are falling well short of the mark.”

CIPHE said that Ms Richardson also discussed the government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship programme, as well as fears that some parts of the plumbing industry are being ignored.

The new president talked about experienced workers in the industry that held no formal qualification as another issue she hoped to address.

She said, “If we want to address the issue of getting our industry more regulated and helping those with ‘Granddad’s rights’ to gain formal qualifications in the smoothest way possible, then this in turn should also possibly go some way towards addressing the issues surrounding the ‘cowboy’ plumbers.”

“It’s quite a scary thought that anyone could enter a customer’s house and call themselves a ‘plumber’, but with no formal qualification to back it up, and very few customers would be bothered to check. This is one of the key areas I would like to try and help address in my term in office.”

Ms Richardson said that as the first female president at the organisation, she was proud to have assumed the role and begin work on tackling key industry issues.

She added, “Yes, I would love to see other women following my lead and yes I do want to encourage more females into the industry, but simply by using a subtler approach of just showing there are no barriers to what you can achieve in life, only the ones you put there; but that rule applies to anyone – male or female.”

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