July 2017 sees BPEC celebrate its twenty fifth anniversary since it was established in 1992. George Thomson, BPEC’s current Chairman, said BPEC has grown and developed into a well-respected industry owned and led organisation working to meet the skills needs of those operating in the UK Plumbing and Heating industry and the wider Building Services Engineering (BSE) sector.
A small number of employers including Raymond J Brooks and Jack A Wishart representing APHC and SNIPEF were pioneers in creating a business that would take on the responsibility for identifying the skills needs of the industry, a bold move at that time.
BPEC was immediately recognised by Government as the Industry Training Organisation for the Plumbing and Heating industry responsible for qualifications, apprenticeships and training. This role continued throughout the following decade and was successful in being appointed in 1996 as the National Training Organisation as a result of changing Government policy. In 2002 BPEC handed over responsibility for qualifications, careers and strategic skills planning to SummitSkills, who became the Sector Skills Council for the BSE sector.
At this point in BPEC’s history the Directors undertook a fundamental review of its role and how it should continue to support the industry in meeting its training and skills needs. From this review BPEC’s strategy changed to focus on developing practical, cost effective and innovative training solutions delivered through a network of approved centres across the whole of the UK.
BPEC is now an industry leading provider of learning materials, it has developed an extensive range of short courses, become the country’s leading Certification Body offering Gas ACS and is fast becoming a prominent Awarding Organisation offering qualifications in Plumbing and Smart Metering.
It is vital of course to mention BPEC’s charity and the role it has played as it has funded the development of many projects that promote the benefits of a career in the plumbing industry to talented young people. It organises the highly successful plumbing skills competitions for apprentices throughout the UK which can lead onto the opportunity for selection to World Skills. The Charity also funds a number of awards such as its Life Award. This award supports plumbing professionals in using their skills to make a difference to the lives of people who are less fortunate, both in the UK and abroad.
George Thomson said, “all in all the last 25 years has been a huge success story for BPEC, and indeed the industry, as it has made a major contribution to raising the skills of so many people. This is something the Directors and staff within BPEC are immensely proud of and their passion to continue to serve the industry remains as strong as ever – here’s to the next 25 years”.