The rise of infant installers

Children at a primary school in Staffordshire are being taught practical plumbing skills including how to fit sinks.

All 120 year five and six pupils at Sandon Primary Academy are taking classes run by Hebden Bridge-based organisation, Plumb Learning.

The workshops, which are conducted up and down the country, are designed to create inclusive, hands-on learning opportunities that “go beyond the traditional classroom.” The community interest company also offers tiling sessions to children as young as ten years old.

“The kids leave my classes high-fiving each other at their accomplishments, and go home to teach their parents how to bleed the radiators and unclog the sink,” workshop leader Scott Hutchinson said.

Speaking to the BBC on how the school likes to do things differently, Sandon Primary Academy employee Nicola Pointon added: “Our headteacher Mrs Beckett wanted to give the students skills they wouldn’t ordinarily learn in and out of school.”

Initiatives like the one by Plumb Learning could help tackle the industry’s skills shortage and diversity problem. Recent reports suggest less than 1% of carpenters in the UK are women, with 1.7% of electricians and less than 4% of builders are women. Plumb Learning and the school’s decision to include whole year groups helps address the common perception that a trade profession is for men.

The wider initiative to drive more people to take up a vocation ‘on the tools’ is still a work in progress for the KBB industry. In his opening address at this year’s BiKBBI Conference, chief executive Damian Walters said that such initiatives have thus far “lacked industry uptake”.

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