Scotland’s plumbing and heating apprenticeship to undergo ‘comprehensive’ review


SKILLS Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) have partnered to undertake a ‘comprehensive’ review of Scotland’s plumbing and heating apprenticeship.

The review is being undertaken two years ahead of schedule to address the profession’s ‘rapidly changing’ demands and customer requirements. As part of the review, SNIPEF and SDS are calling for those working and supporting the sector to participate in technical expert groups (TEG).

As part of the review, SNIPEF and SDS are calling for those working and supporting the sector to participate in technical expert groups (TEG). The two organisations added that the groups will allow all stakeholders an opportunity to influence and inform the direction of skills development and training in the plumbing and heating profession.

A series of consultations will also be conducted, the first scheduled for later this month. The consultations aim to evaluate the profession’s skills needs, balancing traditional requirements with those of renewable and emerging technologies.

Fiona Hodgson, SNIPEF chief executive, said, ” I urge employers, trade unions, learning providers and professional bodies representing the sector to get involved. Only through their feedback and insights can we develop a comprehensive and resilient apprenticeship framework that meets industry requirements and provides the skills and qualifications that are both relevant and future-ready.”

A particular part of the review will be to assess the curriculum’s relevance given the increasing demand for renewable technology skills – such as heat pump design, installation and maintenance.

Fiona Hodgson added, “While our current curriculum does include renewables, we need to determine its sufficiency in emphasising sustainable technologies. Is it comprehensive? Does it strike the right balance for the profession, customers and government? These are the questions we aim to answer.”

Both the UK and Scottish governments have prioritised renewable and sustainable technologies in recent years, notably heat pump technology, leading to increasing calls from parts of the plumbing profession to prioritise these skills.

SDS Skills planning manager for construction, Elaine Ellis, added, “Decarbonising the built environment will bring many opportunities for plumbing businesses. Along with SNIPEF, we recognise the demands on the sector to address renewable and sustainable technologies, and this review will have a strong focus here.

“In addition, it is important that the review creates the well-rounded plumbing professional needed for the diverse range of work across the industry. This is a great opportunity for those in the industry to help shape the apprenticeship and ensure we have the skilled workforce needed now and for the future.”

Employers, employees, representatives and stakeholders from across the industry, including trade bodies, trade unions, awarding bodies and learning providers, can get involved and have a say in the development of the new apprenticeship framework. Those interested in joining a Technical Expert Group should register their interest by contacting

The review of the plumbing and heating apprenticeship follows Skills Development Scotland’s awarding of the contract to revise the curriculum to BSE Skills Ltd, a joint venture between SNIPEF, SELECT, and BESA.

The revised apprenticeship standard, framework and qualification will be completed toQ4 2024 and available to be delivered by learning providers soon after.