“My focus at present is to highlight the role that professional installers fulfil in society, which is twofold. On one hand, plumbing and heating engineers are there to ensure that people are comfortable in their own homes, as they have the qualifications and skills to install the latest heating technologies and bathroom products that make living a certain quality of life possible for the general public
“However, beyond the practical and professional knowledge that people pay for, installers also have a wider duty of care to their customers too; with particular responsibility to ensure that the vulnerable in society are well protected. During the course of their work, they are meeting new people on a daily basis and will visit whoever might call on their services and request their help.
“Besides installing new bathrooms and boilers though, there is a part of the role that people don’t always see. This includes the extra hours often spent making time to chat elderly customers who are living alone or, at the most extreme, having the courage and conviction to speak to social services should installers encounter situations in domestic settings where they believe intervention is required.
“Alongside the work the Institute is currently doing to raise awareness of these aspects of the installer’s role, another of my aims this year is to develop closer links with the other trade associations operating in the plumbing and heating sector. Again, this was something I worked hard to achieve at the HHIC, as there is something to be said for there being strength in numbers and everyone working towards a common goal, rather than in opposition to each other.
“This is particularly pertinent, as one of the most common misconceptions I have heard reported about the CIPHE is that the Institute is a trade association when it’s actually an educational charity. In that respect, the role of the CIPHE is quite different and it is important we start to increase the wider understanding of the Institute’s purpose through the continued education of people at all levels throughout the industry.
“As well as making the right business connections, I am starting to link-up with customer facing groups like the Energy Saving Trust as well, in a bid to make sure all the dots are joined this year. In fact, one of the very first things I did for the CIPHE in my new role was to arrange a meeting with Philip Selwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, followed by another meeting with colleagues at the Gas Safe Register too.
“By meeting with people like these, our aim is to secure wider buy-in and commitment from others to support the CIPHE’s aims. Alongside the Institute, if they are able to use their influence to further professionalism in the plumbing and heating industry, this could be a hugely powerful thing.
“Ultimately, pulling together also means the CIPHE is not just a lone voice in pressing matters relating to education, training and protecting the vulnerable but is one of many voices singing from the same hymn sheet about what it means to be ‘Proud to be a Professional’ working in the plumbing and heating industry today. Making friends and influencing people is just the start.”