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CLF welcomes industry involvement in review of plumbing and heating apprenticeship that aims to boost low-carbon learning

April 16, 2024

The Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) has hailed the “unparalleled sector support” for a comprehensive review of Scotland's plumbing and heating apprenticeship programme that aims to enhance green technology training.

The CLF has welcomed the depth of industry-wide cooperation from organisations, employers and apprentices into the analysis, which is being coordinated in response to the growing demand for greater low-carbon skills.

Led by the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF), BSE Skills and Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the review aligns with the CLF's Construction Accord and the Transformation Action Plan skills group outcome to design and update apprenticeships in partnership with industry to ensure industry has the skills it needs to support positive transformation and to drive net zero.

Stephanie Lowe, SNIPEF Deputy Chief Executive and co-chair of the CLF Workforce and Skills Working Group, said: “The review has attracted unparalleled sector support from across the profession to advance training and development in low-carbon technologies for the next generation of plumbing and heating professionals.

“Guided by the expertise of SDS and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), this collaborative endeavour will improve the plumbing and heating apprenticeship and reinforce the profession’s collective commitment to environmental stewardship."

Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director of the Federation of Master Builders and co-chair of the CLF’s NetZero Working Group, added: “As well as its synergy with the Accord, this review underscores the plumbing and heating profession’s proactive approach in meeting current standards and leading the sustainable transformation of the entire construction landscape.

"It also prioritises the needs of employers and apprentices while ensuring it aligns with the evolving sustainability demands of government and consumers to help us build a more resilient future.”

Extensive industry input has been vital throughout the process, with consultations, workshops and the creation of key working groups to ensure that the evolution of the curriculum is inclusive and reflects current and future requirements.

Also fundamental has been the extensive involvement of employers and their apprentices, who have worked to identify and agree on the essential skills and training to meet with the profession's future requirements.

One such participant has been John Doherty, Director at John Doherty & Co Ltd, who said: “As employers, we bring a unique perspective on what the apprenticeship programme should encompass, driven by our first hand experience of this ever-evolving profession.

“This review has been instrumental in positioning our collective expertise and viewpoints at the core of the apprenticeship review. It is a definitive example of how collaboration between business and academia can significantly advance apprenticeship programmes, ensuring they meet future employer demands."

Laura Brady, Development Manager – Construction at SDS, said: “The expertise of multiple stakeholders, employers and apprentices, is fundamental in ensuring the apprenticeship meets the profession's future demands and secures its vital role in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

"Ultimately, this apprenticeship is designed for the profession, by the profession. Our commitment to being involved with other industry experts reflects our understanding that it is the sector which is best positioned to effectively determine the apprenticeship's content to meet current and future needs."

Alan McDonald, BSE Skills Project Manager, added: “As the standard setting organisation that bridges the gap between educators and industry, BSE Skills has been delighted to play its part in this review and pull together the necessary paperwork for submission to the Apprenticeship Approvals Group (AAG).

“The detail and depth of thought that have gone into this review reinforce the quality of the apprenticeship and how the industry is leading it to ensure that we’re net zero ready and can make a smooth transition to a renewable future.”

Plans are under way for the newly updated apprenticeship framework to be approved by late 2024.

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