At a Working Group meeting held earlier this year sponsored by DfES with the support of Skills Minister Phil Hope MP, a number of action items were agreed in order to raise the awareness of the increasing problem of fast track training courses for plumbers which do not lead to the achievement of recognised industry qualifications.
The Plumbing and Heating Industry Alliance (PHIA) believes that those who attend such courses and spend large self sponsored sums will rarely (if ever) achieve the minimum skills or N/SVQ qualifications expected by the industry and most will certainly lack any site experience. Indeed their lack of experience could be potentially dangerous as their expectation could lead them to undertake work for which they are not competent.
The PHIA believes that these courses can only add to the element of Rogue Traders and the effect they will have on an unsuspecting public. This will further penalise the legitimate sector firms that are endeavouring to maintain standards in the public interest.
Chairman of the Working Group and the PHIA Chris Sneath said: “It takes many years for legitimate trainees and apprentices to obtain accredited standards of competence as well as gaining invaluable experience on site. Whilst there may be nothing illegal in offering such training, we are of the view that the practice is questionable and in a sense immoral, as the individuals will rarely achieve the minimum skills or qualifications expected by the industry.
“We have a duty to warn others of the dangers of these Rogue Training courses by whatever means and I urge the industry to broadcast this warning to the widest possible audience. We owe it to the legitimate future trainees and apprentices in order that they may have adequate protection. We are currently waiting to hear what help and support the Government can also give us”
A further meeting of the Working Group will be held in the Autumn.