April 9, 2019

The BPEC Charity – Supporting the Plumbing & Heating Industry

Dedicated to providing education and lifelong learning to all who work in the Building Services Engineering (BSE) sector, BPEC is an industry-leading provider of qualifications, assessments and learning materials.

However, what makes BPEC unique, and sets us apart from our competitors, is that we are led by employers for the benefit of the sector, and all surplus funds generated are re-invested into various charitable activities by The BPEC Charity. The focus of the charity’s work is to raise the knowledge and skills of those who work in the UK plumbing and heating industry, as well as providing opportunities for financial support to individuals and groups via a number of awards.

One of the events supported by The BPEC Charity is SkillPLUMB. This is an annual competition with young plumbers from around the UK competing in regional heats throughout the year. The eight highest scoring competitors are then invited to take part in the UK final at ‘WorldSkills UK Live’, which is held at the NEC in Birmingham each year in November. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the young plumbing talent from around the UK, and the standard of the work exhibited each year is incredible. The BPEC Charity is very proud to support such a fantastic event, and to be involved in the development and future of the plumbing industry.

The BPEC Charity has also produced free training materials which have proven to be beneficial to both tutors and learners. Currently available as a free download is a plumbing textbook made up of nine individual units. The textbook has been received very favourably by training centres and learners alike, and is now established as a very popular and useful addition to BPEC’s portfolio of training materials.

In April 2017, The PHSP (Plumbing and Heating Skills Partnership) was established with the focus on leading and supporting the development of standards, qualifications and apprenticeships for the plumbing and domestic heating industry. The PHSP is supported by The BPEC Charity and was created by the two plumbing and heating trade associations (APHC and SNIPEF) whose focus, together with BPEC, is to lead on, and drive forward, the industry’s skills agenda in collaboration with other industry organisations. The PHSP aims to support essential skills development activity to ensure that appropriate and consistent standards, qualifications and apprenticeships continue to be available across the UK as well as addressing wider skills needs.

Being industry led means that BPEC have several professional trustees, all passionate about the plumbing industry and its future.  One of these trustees is Mark Antrobus, who runs Millside Heating – a busy small plumbing business in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Mark is an incredibly busy person, but still gives a huge amount of time to support the charitable work of BPEC and also finds time to be a Director of the APHC (Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors). Mark is very active in his local community, promoting the plumbing industry in a range of innovative ways:

As a member of the Yorkshire and Humberside Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, Mark visits schools to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to young people – Mark recently visited Holmfirth High School in West Yorkshire to give a presentation to year nine and year eleven students. His enthusiasm and knowledge is always welcome at the schools, and it is great to know that apprenticeships are being promoted positively as an option to young people, offering them the prospect of an enjoyable and rewarding career.

Mark also appears on BBC Radio Leeds once a month as part of ‘The Professionals’ on the Richard Stead Breakfast Show. As well as offering plumbing, heating and gas related industry updates each month, Mark also answers calls and emails on a diverse range of industry related issues. Recently discussed were World Plumbing Day, mental health and anxiety issues within the industry, National Apprenticeship Week and also how the industry is effected by the weather. Mark will be chatting about the SkillPLUMB competition in the coming months as he is one of the regular judges at the regional heats

Mark is always keen to share his experiences and his enthusiasm for the industry “I initially got involved with BPEC and APHC through a want to give back to an industry that has given me so much. From a very early age I wanted to get into plumbing and I have always been passionate about the industry. With fantastic apprenticeship opportunities available, I particularly love promoting the industry to young people and school leavers as a worthwhile and rewarding career option. I get great satisfaction out of being in a position to be able to encourage young people to consider a career in this fantastic industry!”

Mark is pictured here on the left with BPEC CEO Neil Collishaw, BPEC Chairman George Thomson and BPEC Director and Trustee Duncan Wilson.

Neil Collishaw, BPEC Chief Executive Officer: “I am so proud of The BPEC Charity and what we have been able to achieve in supporting and promoting the plumbing and heating industry. I am looking forward to a bright future as we continue with our innovative work to help with the development and promotion of this fantastic industry. If anyone would like to get involved with our charity work, then please just get in touch with us at BPEC. You can call us on 01332 376000, or, for further information, please just check out our charity webpage . We look forward to hearing from you!”