To support the next generation of plumbers, bathroom manufacturer Ideal Standard International is funding a new UK apprenticeship scheme which is claimed to be the first of its kind.
Working with the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), and design education body FIESTA, the manufacturer aims to address the plumbing industry’s skills gap and attract new talent into the sector.
This scheme comes at a time when plumbing apprenticeships have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with Ideal Standard reporting 1 in 10 apprentices have lost their jobs.
Ideal Standard will provide funding for a number of apprenticeship positions offered by businesses within the CIPHE network to help young people gain the knowledge, skills and experience to begin a career in plumbing.
Training will be carried out by some of the top learning providers in the UK, carefully selected from the CIPHE Approved Training Centre network.
Ideal Standard will work with colleges to set the standard for training, ensuring apprentices are fully equipped to succeed in the trade.
The bathroom manufacturer will also provide hands-on support for local apprenticeships going through the scheme around its sites in Hull, Armitage and London.
It is calling for businesses within the sector to come forward and also sponsor placements.
The scheme uses funding from the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and Ideal Standard is giving a proportion of its share to provide financial support to smaller companies so they can take on an apprentice at this challenging time.
Managing director of Ideal Standard UK David Barber said: “This scheme is the first of its kind within the industry.
“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity to lead the way in investing in young talent and apprentices as they begin their careers in the plumbing and heating industry.
“I hope that other organisations will see the benefits of the scheme and get involved in supporting our future plumbers.
“For employers who are concerned about any managerial obligations this may bring, the Ideal Standard team will provide support throughout.”
Chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering Kevin Wellman added: “This initiative comes at a time when plumbing apprenticeships have been hit by the global pandemic and we were already faced with a skills shortage in the industry.
“Members of the CIPHE are in prime position to provide the necessary opportunities for new apprentices and, in turn, benefit from a level of support from the CIPHE and a major industry manufacturer that they could only usually dream of.“