Graeme Dryden, Deputy CEO & Technical Services Manager at the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) discusses how installers can access the training they need during lockdown.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has posed a multitude of challenges for the industry, but one thing that often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do pile is the need to keep learning going. But with ever-changing legislation and constant technological developments showing no signs of slowing down, ongoing training remains as crucial as ever.
Any heating engineer needs to keep up to date with new technology and legislation, helping them to provide systems that are safe, efficient and perform well. Whilst training can mean time off the job, the reality is that it can pay dividends in the long run.
It can help plumbers to become more experienced working with products, while remaining one step ahead of emerging trends. Plus, as their work is likely to be of better quality, happy customers may also recommend them to friends and family, resulting in additional work and income.
So what can be done in the face of the pandemic and its resulting restrictions?
Utilising online training has never been more vital. At APHC, we have already tackled the challenges of offering training and assessment in a safe, COVID-secure environment by working closely with BPEC to ensure that we are able to deliver remotely.
If properly implemented, online training can be just as effective as traditional methods. The latter still has its advantages of course, however with the speed of technology and global changes to society, it’s likely that training as a whole may never be the same again. Online learning has proven to be an adaptable and efficient form of training that is accessible to engineers at any time and any place regardless of the many barriers we have faced over the last few months.
Our courses can be booked via our digital booking form and are run over five days in two-hour segments in a blended approach, which includes a supporting course pack and online video conference delivery with one of our expert trainers. This bite-sized style of training also means that even the busiest installer can fit learning into their day. All that’s required is the ability to login remotely via a desktop, laptop or tablet with either a built-in or externally fitted camera.
The training materials are delivered electronically and can either be printed off at home or viewed on a second computer screen or via a tablet. The end assessment is carried out using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded free of charge from the Adobe website.
At APHC we believe that the greater the installer’s knowledge of their trade, the more they can offer to their customers. That’s why we’re constantly honing our training courses to ensure that they can be tailored to installers’ needs.
Our training courses are designed to cover an increasingly wide variety of topics – from sharpening up on the basics, like vented and unvented domestic hot water storage systems, through to more specialist subjects such as Legionella risk assessment designed for experienced and established plumbers looking to widen their remit.
We train installers with the aim of making it easy for them to do their job effectively and to the highest possible standard every time. The right training course can be instrumental in helping a heating engineer to sell more services or products to their customers. Over time this means the financial benefits can easily outweigh that relatively small investment of a day or so out of work – even if it is done remotely.