Bathroom and washroom supplier Ideal Standard has launched an ‘industry first’ apprenticeship scheme to address the skills gap in the plumbing sector.
Ideal Standard has collaborated for the scheme with the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (Fiesta).
The manufacturer said it aimed to attract much-needed talent into the sector at a time when plumbing apprenticeships have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with one-in-10 apprentices losing their jobs.
Ideal Standard said it will provide funding for a number of apprenticeship positions offered by businesses within the CIPHE network. These, it said, will help young people gain the knowledge, skills and experience to start a career in plumbing. The training will be carried out by some of the top learning providers, selected from CIPHE’s approved training centre network.
Ideal Standard said that it will provide hands-on support for local apprenticeships around its sites in Hull, Armitage and London and is calling for businesses within the sector to sponsor placements.
The scheme uses funding from the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy and Ideal Standard will be using a percentage of its share of that fund to provide financial support for smaller companies, allowing them to take on an apprentice “at this challenging time”.
Ideal Standard UK managing director David Barber commented: “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.”
Commenting on the scheme, CIPHE chief executive Kevin Wellman said: “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.”