IOPSA’s training solutions

There have been some issues regarding heat pump and solar accreditation, which now has a solution.

Training has become quite an extensive part of IOPSA’s activities and not only covers student training, but also involves assessing various training providers to ensure that they deliver the quality of training that is required by industry.

IOPSA has created a test, in consultation with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB), based on the standards applicable to heat pumps and solar hot water systems, whereby plumbers can obtain a relevant designation of either a heat pump or solar installer. On passing the test, IOPSA will provide a recognised certificate that can be submitted to the PIRB.

IOPSA is a Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) assessment quality partner, and although it has taken a while to reach this point and get this opportunity going, it is certainly a move in the right direction for the industry.

Further to this new recognised training opportunity, Nedbank has approached IOPSA to become the lead employer to take students through a full programme of training, to be able to register with the PIRB and complete the trade test. This initiative was started early in May 2018, and the students have been in the training environment, going over the theoretical content, before getting into the workplace. Host employers have also been identified where the students can get the practical experience required.

IOPSA has engaged with the Ekurhuleni TVET college and is again the lead employer, where 25 students have completed their three months of theory and have been placed with their host employers. Likewise, 25 students are currently attending the college in Port Elizabeth. As the lead employer, IOPSA ensures that all the training, tools, and PPE are in order, and that students can be placed to ultimately qualify as plumbers. A further 50 students are scheduled to start the course.

The key elements for IOPSA are that a shift has taken place from following to leading, and through this as an official body, we are getting all the right people coming to us and asking the right questions in terms of what a plumber needs to comply with standards.

We are getting more involved in this aspect, as training is so critical for the industry. We are looking at identifying what we would call ‘IOPSA-accredited training schools’, so this is a roll-on in terms of heat pump and solar training that we will provide, and it incorporates facilities that have an interest in terms of offering this training to narrow the gaps. IOPSA will create the applicable opportunities and develop the tests, the application forms, the processes and so on, to assist the plumbers in obtaining the necessary designations through accredited training courses.

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