As the year draws to a close, many young people are celebrating the end of their secondary education and considering what the future might hold for them. Some will have a strong idea about what they want to do next, especially multi-generational plumbers who were practically born into the profession and have blue glue running through their veins!
But for most, unless they already know someone in our industry, the rewards of a plumbing career might not be considered. Unfortunately, this is often compounded by the lack of familiarity that many schools have with professional trades, resulting in their career programs and advice often pointing students toward university.
Both higher education pathways are needed in our industry but in terms of what they comprise, it’s worth reflecting on the magnitude of what students doing a plumbing apprenticeship achieve. A plumbing qualification is a very significant commitment. On graduation, plumbing apprentices have completed a four-year qualification comprising more than 1,300 hours formal education; studying 75 separate competencies and passing more than 200 formal assessments. This is supplemented by a practical focus of more than 5,700 hours supervision, guidance and best practice training on sites, working with their hands and minds, using the knowledge they have gained in real-time conditions.
The four years of a plumbing apprenticeship are an opportunity to be paid a decent wage to study, to finish a qualification without a study debt and enter a profession where there is practically guaranteed employment over coming decades due to the shortage of qualified and experienced plumbers needed to protect the health and sanitation of our nation by building and maintaining Australia’s infrastructure.
We can all encourage young adults to consider a career in plumbing, whether it’s a conversation with your own family, a chat at the local sporting club, participating in careers events at your local secondary school or putting on an apprentice yourself. This edition of Australian Plumbing has a focus on plumbing careers, with an interview of a very passionate proponent of plumbing careers and ongoing professional development. Through this article, we hope to provide members and readers with information to start a discussion.
You never know, your conversation with someone may be the influence they need to join our great industry.
Finally, we take this opportunity to wish everyone in the Master Plumbers’ family, and their loved ones, a safe and enjoyable break over Christmas and New Year and hope you can take some time to rest and recharge for an exciting 2023.
Scott Dowsett Immediate Past President, Master Plumbers
Peter Daly Chief Executive Officer, Master Plumbers
Members of Master Plumbers will have seen that after 10 years as President, Scott Dowsett is stepping back from official duties with Norm Anderson moving into the Presidency. Scott has overseen an unheralded period of transformation for Master Plumbers and the broader industry and the Association pays tribute to the enormous contribution and influence he has made and will continue to make as our Immediate Past President.