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Plumbing down under is no pipe dream
Published:  20 June, 2013

Bexley College is to assist Peter Miles, head teacher of plumbing at North Sydney College, with research into training and plumbing in the UK.

Miles (pictured with Bexley College lecturer Tony Adams) was awarded with a World Plumbing Council Education & Training Scholarship last year. After noting that the majority of plumbers hoping to be employed in his centre, Australia Enrol, are from the UK and Ireland, he has chosen to visit the UK under his scholarship to glean an insight into its training and plumbing industry.

Just a few days into his tour, Miles had already visited a public and private training provider, and has made plans to travel north through Derbyshire and onto Scotland. He was pleasantly surprised by UK standards and particularly impressed with the duty of care for apprentices in the workplace, and the drive to improve numeracy and literacy skills.

He also commented on the standard of British plumbers and heating engineers trained to meet Gas Safe requirements, calling them “superior” to those in Australia.

In terms of teaching methods, Miles has recognised that they are not standardised from centre to centre in the UK but work towards one goal as we have large awarding bodies whose criteria must be met. In Australia there is not a centralised system, but due to the majority of training centres being state-run, the teaching structure is virtually interchangeable.

Miles, from a family background of plumbing, has now been teaching for more years than his 17 as a tradesman and relishes the opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with the new generation coming into the plumbing trade. He discloses that being in the plumbing trade, wherever you are from, is “like being in a fraternity”, and offers the advice that you enter the trade if you have an interest in the industry – not just as a job.

For more information on courses or apprenticeship options available at Bexley College, please visit www.bexley.ac.uk or telephone 01322 404000.