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Whod Recommend Plumber

Sunday, 02 November 2008

People are more reluctant to recommend a plumber than almost any other tradesperson.

A study by Building Trade Skills Centres (BTSC), the UK's leading trainer of plumbers, has found that just one in three people knew a CORGI-registered plumber they would be happy to recommend - compared with 82 per cent who would refer their painter/decorator and 68 per cent a good electrician.

Only double-glazing companies struggle for referrals more than fully qualified gas plumbers, with just 18 per cent happy to recommend them.

While the huge demand for plumbers may have allowed customer service levels to fall, experts believe that could create opportunities for those in service industries looking to retrain.

"There's been a huge plumber skills gap for a few years now, with estimates predicting we will need 4,500 newly-trained plumbers every year until at least 2011 and plumbing positions are predicted to be the hardest to fill even in 2015," said BTSC's MD, Allen Jackson.

"Unfortunately, one result of that is that there appear to be some plumbers out there who don't feel they need to compete on service as there will always be enough work to go around. But as we head into a recession, we are seeing thousands of people looking to retrain into more secure careers which could help them survive the downturn.

"We think that those who are coming to us from backgrounds with high levels of customer services will do even better."

As well as CORGI-plumbers, the study found that kitchen fitters could rely on recommendations from just 36 per cent of people, with handymen being praised by 45 per cent, gardeners by 49 per cent, non-gas plumbers by 64 per cent and builders by 65 per cent.

BTSC runs intensive plumber-training courses from its two centres in Manchester and Chessington, Surrey, which are the largest in Europe. They claim a 100% job placement record for their qualifying trainees.

Like the fully-qualified plumbers it trains, the company has been experiencing its own boom in demand this year as workers look towards a seemingly recession-proof trade to protect them from the economic downturn.

"Since March, when people first began to really worry that the current downturn might be more than a short-term blip, we have been getting about 1,000 calls a week from people looking to retrain as plumbers.

"What has changed now is that while one or two of those calls earlier in the year were from people making plans in case things got worse, more and more of those contacting us now are determined to retrain and want to do so as soon and as quickly as they can."

"We always try to instil in them the fact that while being a good plumber is paramount, good manners and customer service are essential in making their new careers a success."

Those interested in putting their service skills into action as a plumber can contact BTSC in Manchester on 0161 787 3535 or in Chessington on 020 8391 3925.



Notes to editors

  • Building Trade Skills Centres was established in 2005 to provide the highest quality intensive plumber training courses anywhere in Europe
  • At 45,000 sq ft, the company's first training centre in Chessington, Surrey, was Europe's largest and most advanced
  • At 65,000 sq ft, BTSC's new £2 million training centre in Eccles, near Manchester, is now Europe's largest and most state-of-the art
  • Each centre consists of separate workshop areas with 12 specially constructed bays, one for each trainee for each class of 12. Up to 25 classes will eventually be run every week
  • Courses are split into 13 separately bookable intensive modules each of which includes City and Guilds Assessments and can be scheduled around most trainee's other commitments
  • Both the London and Manchester centres are also equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms and exam rooms as well as self-study areas for trainees to use with trainers on hand to help with their studying
  • Both sites have been chosen for their excellent transport links and attract some trainees from hundreds of miles away
  • All BTSC's trainers are City & Guilds approved and every trainee is guaranteed a job on completing their course.  However, to date, every trainee qualifying only at the Technical Certificate Level 3 has been placed in a job by BTSC's full-time placement team.