It’s been two long years since the industry gathered for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) Dinner with the President. Some 40 guests joined CIPHE National President, Mel Gumbs EngTech MCIPHE RP, on 16 March for a special dinner, with a stunning view, in the private dining rooms at The Gherkin.
Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility), sent a video message covering the Heat and Buildings Strategy and the decarbonisation of buildings, as he commended the CIPHE on the delivery of its new Low Temperature qualification.
CIPHE Board of Trustees member and former President of IDHEE, Peter Thom FCIPHE, spoke about dealing with Government through his time at IDHEE and how historically, things have changed at a much slower pace than proposed. He warned that when it comes to net-zero we do not have the luxury of time. Peter then expressed how excited he was to see the CIPHE pick up the baton from the IDHEE, with its work on the new Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Systems in Dwellings qualification and led a rallying cry to generate as much support for the course as possible.
National President Mel then took to the floor to give his presidential speech. Mel picked up from Peter in discussing the collaboration involved with manufacturers, industry organisations and LCL Awards, in bringing together the CIPHE Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Systems in Dwellings qualification. Officially announcing its launch at the dinner as he introduced an explanatory animation, Mel said, “It is the culmination of over two years of work in developing a course that qualified and experienced installers across the industry can take part in.”
Moving onto the resilience of the industry, Mel next set his sights on the energy crisis. “The role that our industry will play in helping the public to minimise the impact of fuel poverty is going to be increasingly important in the coming months.” Indeed, fuel poverty is a priority area in the CIPHE’s 2022 manifesto update, which Mel encouraged all in attendance to read and lend their support to.
Education and training was next on Mel’s agenda, with a plea for installers to attain a minimum of NVQ Level 3 or equivalent. In addition, he covered the many ways the CIPHE keeps to its educational charity roots, saying “We have maintained our engagement with apprenticeships, supporting a review of the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician standard, have instigated all industry discussions on recognition of experienced workers, and supported post-Grenfell working groups dealing with competency of engineers.” With new websites launching through 2022, the CIPHE will be further enhancing its digital educational role also.
Sticking with the theme, Mel covered a subject close to his heart – promoting apprenticeships – and announced another very special launch. “In partnership with the Worshipful Company of Plumbers I can confirm that a New ‘Joint Apprenticeship’ Pilot has been developed. The scheme which I am honoured to launch this evening, is to mentor young plumbing/heating trainees and tradespeople, to provide a support structure for them to enhance their technical knowledge and career development. This collaboration will play a part in helping to ensure the industry is in safe hands for many years to come.”
Mel finished his speech by reflecting on some of the highs of his two years as President, including podcasts and interviews with industry magazines, and serving on the judging panels for Apprentice of the year and Trade Person of the year competitions. He concluded his speech by thanking CIPHE head office staff, his good friend Heidi, family and friends for supporting him as National President.