The seventh annual Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards (PFIA) were held Friday 10 March 2023 at Crown Palladium.
On behalf of the Master Plumbers Executive Board, we are pleased to present the Association’s Annual Report for 2018.
The past year has been an exciting and eventful time for Master Plumbers. Your association has embarked on a journey to make membership more relevant and meaningful and to ensure Master Plumbers’ long-term future.
We commenced the implementation of a new three-year strategic plan, which puts members at the heart of the association. The strategic plan has six key themes centered around member value, industry development and sustainability.
Master Plumbers recommitted efforts to listening to members to better understand what is important to them. We are building further value into membership, rewarding current members for their loyalty and introducing new members to the Master Plumbers’ family.
Through our partnership with the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) and the Plumbing Employees Union, our $30 million state-of-the-art training facility in Narre Warren is due for completion in coming months. It combines the latest plumbing technology with modern teaching facilities and generous contributions of equipment from suppliers to the industry. We plan to commence classes in the second half of 2019.
As part of our new digital strategy, we are well-underway with the construction of a new website and find-a-plumber tool.
Our next-generation website and integrated find-a-plumber platform will provide members with an enhanced level of service and the public with an easy way to contact a Master Plumber.
Providing more value for membership
We have introduced a new suite of products and services to provide members with better ways to do business. One of the most popular is free Australian Standards for members, which they can download and print. More than 10 per cent of members have potentially saved up to $3,500 each already. Master Plumbers’ members purchased 77 new Toyota vehicles, saving $560,000 and approximately 2,300,000 litres of fuel were bought by members in our Caltex and BP discount programs.
Further discounts and savings were enjoyed from Master Plumbers’ partners including Telstra, SP Solutions and Sheen Group.
Advice provided by our workplace relations, occupational health and safety and technical advice experts was valued by members, with the number of calls to Master Plumbers for these services topping 1,100.
Engaging our members
Master Plumbers has several channels through which we communicate with members, including Australian Plumbing Industry Magazine, our electronic newsletter, social media and direct contact by phone, text, email and post. We revamped our Australian Plumbing magazine, which reaches 28,000 people per edition. We introduced Master Plumbers Radio, a podcast series interviewing industry experts on business and professional development topics.
We built our social media following to more than 9,000 and added LinkedIn and Instagram to the established Facebook and Twitter channels.
Master Plumbers has ramped up its personal contact and we have undertaken to visit or speak directly with all new members soon after joining and regularly thereafter.
We are also refining how we best communicate with all members, based on their individual preferences rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Representing members’ interests
Master Plumbers participated in a Coronial Inquest to assist the investigation into the death of a resident from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Our contribution was very well received and reflected in the Coroners’ Findings.
The association also had a very considerable impact on the Plumbing Regulations Sunset Review 2018, with successful advocacy to strengthen the protections necessary to ensure public health and safeguard the integrity of our industry.
We have been active in the Plumbing Training Package Review and have been strongly advocating nationally that the training package must be designed, developed and delivered to industry requirements.
In a first for Master Plumbers, we published our inaugural advocacy document “Plumbing Industry Priorities” ahead of the Victorian State Election and distributed 750 copies to stakeholders, decision-makers and members.
Master Plumbers’ advocacy on these priorities was reinforced through personal contact with Ministers, their advisors and Members of Parliament, together with our key industry stakeholders such as the Victorian Building Authority and Energy Safe Victoria.
Our members continued to provide input to various technical advisory bodies, including the development and revision of Australian Standards and we thank them for giving their valuable time and knowledge on behalf of their industry.
Training our industry
Master Plumbers delivers industry training programs incorporating the Certificate II Pre-apprenticeship, Certificate III Apprenticeship and post-trade Certificate IV programs, together with specialist training.
Over the course of the year we delivered more than 77,100 hours of training to 719 students across these programs at the Master Plumbers’ PICAC Brunswick and Geelong campuses.
Our approach to quality education saw an average 98 per cent of our students pass the independent Journeyman’s examination the first time, a rate far out-performing the plumbing training industry. Members saved nearly $60,000 in post-trade training at Master Plumbers.
In addition to our formal education programs, Master Plumbers provided a range of information and awareness sessions across Victoria. Foremost amongst these was our very popular Carbon Monoxide Awareness program, which we delivered to 4,000 registered/ licensed plumbers at 34 locations across Victoria.
We also held member forums in Frankston, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Sale and business breakfasts in Dandenong, Broadmeadows and Caroline Springs.
Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria (PAV), our Group Training Scheme, has a strong focus on providing high-quality apprentices to industry at a competitive rate. We devoted significant effort to building stronger relationships with our host employers to better understand their businesses.
Members who use apprentices through PAV receive a significant discount and saved $157,000 on apprentice hire over the year.
As members may be aware from updates over the past months, we have now also developed our own voluntary Continuing Professional Development program for members and their employees and we will launch this in 2019.
Key priorities for the coming year will be framed by the ongoing implementation of our strategic plan. This will include the commencement of teaching at our Narre Warren campus and the updating of teaching facilities at Brunswick. The roll-out of our digital strategy will continue, together with a suite of new products, services and communication activity. We will continue our efforts to better connect with our members in person and online and communicate in the way members prefer.
We thank members for their continued loyalty over the year. We also express sincere appreciation to our colleagues on the Executive Board and National Council for their very significant contribution to the association.
With our solid financial position, trusted brand, dedicated and committed staff and a new strategic plan, Master Plumbers is well-placed to build further member value over coming years.
Scott Dowsett, President
Peter Daly, Secretary & Chief Executive Officer