Around the nation – Tasmanian news

This year has been another extremely busy time for our industry here in Tasmania.

Master Plumbers Tasmania is celebrating 75 years of service to the Plumbing Industry. In a year of huge achievement

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Around the nation – Tasmanian news

We simply don’t have the number of licensed plumbers in to meet the demand. More broadly, the building and construction industry in Tasmania is under pressure with inadequate numbers of licensed tradespeople. There is no easy answer for this shortfall, other than increasing apprentice numbers, which are already peaking with about 500 people currently enrolled. MPAT continues to work with Tas TAFE and Keystone Tasmania to identify ways to improve industry human resources.

To assist, we will be working with Tas TAFE to train 100 new Certificate ll Plumbing participants via six courses to be run throughout the State in the next 12 months.

As members would be aware, MPAT has been working hard on the new Centre of Excellence for Water, Energy and Trades (WET). I have been involved in the initial concept design, the construction phases and in the inspections of the build and I can report that it is very innovative and will take plumbing training in Tasmania well into the future.

It was in 2016 that Master Plumbers Tasmania commenced its journey in securing a new plumbing school for our tradespeople. We recognised that the existing plumbing school could no longer meet the needs of our future tradespeople and that significant changes needed to be made in our training and learning environment. On the 23 of August this year I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the WET Centre and present a speech to over 300 attendees from industry, government, and current TAFE students. It was extremely rewarding to see the finalisation of our dream - seven years in the making. Together, we took on the challenge to improve the learning environment of our profession and now we have a 27-million-dollar state of the art educational facility.

There are so many people to thank for their work and dedication in realising this dream. I would like to thank our education subcommittee members:

Cath McDowell
of Howrah Plumbing

Kaylee Coppleman
of Skyline Roofing and Sheetmetal

Chris Wright

Byron Duffy
of the Plumbing Surveyors Association of Tasmania

Roger Gill
of Express Plumbing

Wayne Manion
of Wayne Manion Plumbing Services

Andrew Foley
of Andrew Foley Plumbing

Karin Mathison
of Keystone Tasmania

Richard Harris

And last, but not least, Owen Smith and Mark Geeves from the Tas TAFE Plumbing School.

I would also like to thank our colleagues from Master Plumbers Victoria who stepped in to help us determine what a new state of the art facility should look like and how best to achieve a training environment that celebrated our trade and enhanced learning opportunities.

I wish all the very best to our current and future students who will flourish in such a stimulating learning environment. We trust in these students the future of our public and environmental health and we are confident that they will rise to the challenge embraced within the walls of our new WET Centre.

Celebrating 75 years

Master Plumbers Tasmania is celebrating 75 years of service to the Plumbing Industry. In a year of huge achievement, Executive office, Angela Bennett reflects.

As we celebrate a milestone year of operation, I thank all members and supporters, past and present, for contributing to our longevity and our success.

The highlight of this year has been the opening of the new Centre of Excellence for Water Energy and Trades (WET Centre). It is fair to say that if MPAT had not initiated the concept of a new plumbing school in 2016, we likely would not have the new WET Centre now.

MPAT representatives spent considerable time meeting with ministers (state and federal) to secure support and funding for the new WET Centre. We started this process in mid-2016 with the then Minister, Jeremy Rockliff. Other MPAT representatives spent considerable time working, via our Education Sub Committee, on the concept design and fit out. Our fabulous associate members then became involved and donated vast amounts of new equipment and have signed onto supporting the Centre as ongoing contributors.

The WET Centre truly was an industry-led intiative and demonstrates what can be achieved, for the betterment of industry, when industry associations are proactive and representative of member needs and the future of our industry. I would like to encourage members to view the WET Centre, via virtual tour at MPAT dearly appreciates that having a new learning facility for our tradespeople isn’t the only element of successful learning. It is vital to have qualified and experienced people to deliver the training. TasTAFE continues to experience problems in delivering the training we need and, in the locations, required.

There is still much work to do, in conjunction with TasTAFE, to ensure that we have the adequate number of professional and skilled educators delivering training statewide. This is an ongoing process and not as easy as building a new centre! Trust though that we remain determined to ensure all aspects of our training delivery are met. We are in for the long haul and have some good people at TasTAFE that share this vision.

Another highlight of this year has been the success of our CPD E-learn facility, which offers 50 courses and is heavily subsidised by Keystone Tasmania.

Many other projects are underway, some of which will hopefully benefit our industry in 2024 and beyond.

None of this work would be possible without the grassroots support of our members and the work of the MPAT Board and the Education Sub-Committee.

To Tassie for love

Melbourne boy, Abco Blok, moved to Tasmania for love.

Since then, he has founded a successful business, scored a secure client base and a adopted a lifestyle that is unbeatable.

When Abco Blok (pictured left, above with Liam and Matthew) started his apprenticeship in Melbourne in 1996, he couldn’t see himself leaving the city.

“But then I fell in love with a Tasmanian girl, and she wasn’t too keen to move to Melbourne,” he says with a laugh.

So, a little over 20 years ago, Abco made the move to Tasmania where he founded his business Premium Plumbing and Gasfitting, and never looked back.

“There’s such a great lifestyle, and certainly when I moved down here, houses were much cheaper. I’ve been blessed since I’ve been here as the industry’s continued to grow.

I really believe that Tasmania’s turned into a bit of a hotspot.

“We don’t get the highs and lows in Tasmania that businesses do in Victoria, Tassie still seems to keep ticking along all the time, so the work is constant.”

Serving Launceston and surrounding areas, Premium Plumbing specialises in hot water systems, renovations and maintenance, for both private customers and a number of local real-estate firms.

“I was originally able to build and expand my business by securing work with good builders and developing a loyal customer base.

These days, we continue to contract to the people who’ve helped us grow the business to get to where we are, and we also look after a lot of the bigger builders in town,” he says.

“While I oversee the day-to-day running of the business, I still enjoy getting out on the tools and helping with a variety of plumbing jobs. I’ve also learned that to run a business professionally, you need to have good employees out in then field and in the office.”

Premium Plumbing has a current team of almost 20 people and trained 25 apprentices over the years.

“I say that we train people up in the ‘Premium Plumbing way’, which means we focus on a high quality of work and a good culture. What we do is start training people in our process straight away instead of just getting our apprentices to be tool fetchers. They get to be hands-on and really involved.”

One of Abco’s former apprentices, Matthew Voss, is now his business partner.

“He started his apprenticeship with us in 2005, one of my first apprentices, and approximately eight years ago I sold part of my business to him. It has been a really an excellent match. We complement each other in different areas, and I couldn’t have a better person to work with than him.”

Abco is a father of five and his eldest son Liam joined the business as an apprentice a year ago.

“He’s really enjoyed getting out of school and being able to get hands on, he’s a hands-on type of kid, like I always was. He’s really flourishing in life now, he’s started his apprenticeship and found his place in life,” he says.

“My middle child Jesse is showing interest too, so he potentially wants to look down that path when he is older.”

With a thriving business, five children and commitments with his church, Abco has plenty on his plate. But he recently decided to give back to the industry by joining the Board of the Master Plumbers’ Association of Tasmania.

“I’ve been a Master Plumbers member for a number of years, and they’d been asking me for years to join the Board, but I’d always been too busy.

“I am really looking forward to taking an integral role and seeing the value that Master Plumbers has given back to the Tasmanian plumbing industry, like with the new TasTAFE campus. There’s a lot of great projects and value around for our industry at the moment and it’s exciting to be part of.”


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Master Plumbers Tasmania is celebrating 75 years of service to the Plumbing Industry. In a year of huge achievement

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Global Pumps Website Advertising April, May, June 2024


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