Why we are committed to training plumbers worldwide
As obvious as clean water and wastewater removal are to most of us, we barely think about what’s behind the toilet flush or what goes down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s not until our toilet clogs or our tap bursts that we realize how important plumbing actually is. Only then do we realize that plumbers are crucial for safe and healthy living. After all, clean water supply, and water waste removal belong to the most important necessities of life.
Important role of plumbers
As our world rapidly changes around us through the effects of climate change, urbanization and population growth, it’s become less and less obvious that water is accessible to everyone. We are hurtling towards a global water deficit of 40% by 2040 and regions with less macroeconomic stability will be the first to take the hit.
Plumbers play an important role in ensuring access to water and sanitation for all (Sustainable Development Goals 6). By operating in the ‘invisible’ world, that is made up of the space behind our walls and beneath our floors, they enable our everyday life. They hold both the knowledge and practical skills to give us access to clean water sources, ultimately enabling public health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.
That’s why we, at Wavin, are committed to train plumbers worldwide. Everyday. Due to the effects of Covid-19 we needed to adapt and so we organized the first, and biggest online event for plumbers held so far. With over 6300 plumbers, from 11 countries in Latin America, we ‘came together’ and discussed the most relevant topics and challenges faced by plumbers today.
Plumbing in Latin America
The geographical location largely determines the challenges plumbers face in their profession. Latin America is home to more than 620 million people of which 80% live in urban areas. Many big cities suffer from poor and old infrastructure, which results in health risks for people. 45-70% of all buildings in Latin America are a product of self-construction. Which means that large construction projects are not carried out by certified construction companies, but by self-employed people. More so, by designated families who have specialized in a particular trade. Buildings are constructed in close cooperation with families that have specialized in masonry, carpentry, tile setting, and plumbing. Knowledge about the craft is passed on from father to son.
Since plumbers are vital for our wellbeing, we need to help local professionals move forward. With more, better, and constant education they can make a considerable impact for local communities. In our recent plumbing congress (also have a look at the Spanish announcement video below) we addressed that we need to make regions future proof from the inside out. This means we need to invest in quality standards, social security, safety and health conditions. To build strong local communities, we need a strong global network to exchange knowledge and expertise, and to empower local plumbers. Like the plomeros or gasfiteros in Latin America. Or ‘PlumbHeroes’ as we like to call them.
Note: while this article is mainly about Wavin’s recent online plumber training, we have also added some pictures of offline events. These were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s why people are not wearing face masks. We truly hope to return to this situation as soon as possible.
Plumber training in the UK
In the UK we work with a number of training institutions to provide training, products and resources which can be used by students. We also contribute to Hip Magazine for Plumbing & Heating Students and Apprentices and have sponsored their Learner of the Year Awards.
Most recently we have worked with Mr London Plumber to provide educational pin up boards and other resources.
We also have a number of useful online resources for trainee or apprentice plumbers including e-learning modules and how to videos.