In its fifth year, the 2016 WPD event was a resounding success. With over 450 people attending the Industry Forum, Trade Expo and Apprentice Skills Competition held at the PICAC facility in Brunswick, this year proved bigger and better than ever.
The proceedings commenced with the Industry Forum. A capacity crowd made up of plumbers, apprentices, industry experts and representatives from all over Australia filled the Great Hall to listen to key note speakers present on this year’s theme, ‘Preparing for the future: Technology, Skills and Environment’.
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, The Right Honourable Robert Doyle, was the first of the keynote speakers to address attendees. The Lord Mayor, who is also a Director on the PICAC Board, discussed just how important the issue of sustainability has been in his term as Mayor. Mr. Doyle connected the vital role training has played in keeping the plumbers of Victoria up to date with the latest technologies and systems, in order to be able to implement many of the key water saving initiatives around the city that have made Melbourne a stand out in the field.
Mr. Doyle stated “If you think about today…what is the source of our [Melbourne’s] future prosperity? It is the knowledge sector. It’s education. It’s clean-tech. It’s highly skilled people working at the highest level of their trade or profession.”
Following the Lord Mayor, Justin Madden, Deputy Chief Commissioner of the VBA presented on the many benefits that come from good plumbing across the city and how the VBA will support the industry into the future. Mr. Madden highlighted the strength and importance of the sector in contributing not only to the health of the community, but also as a key driver in the economy.
Mr. Madden explained “…critical to the delivery of the plumbing system required to sustain a modern, environmentally friendly, aware and growing population, is a pipeline of qualified and skilled plumbers and gas fitters. And that requires both a strong and focused education system and a fair and vigilant registration and licensing regime.”
Earl Setches, National Secretary of the Plumbing Trades Employee Union (PTEU) and PICAC Chair, officially launched the 2016 Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards (PFIA), with nominations opening on the 1st of July, 2016. He also discussed the great achievement by PICAC in winning the Australian Training Award for Small Training Provider of the Year in 2015.
Finally, Jeremy Forbes from HALT (Hope Assistance Local Tradies) addressed the audience to spread the word about the organisation and the services they offer. A not-for-profit, HALT aims to remind tradies they are valued by their community and direct them to support services, both local and national, should they need them. It was an important message for the industry and very well received.
Following the forum, attendees gathered for an industry luncheon and were able to visit displays at the Industry Expo, where representatives from event sponsors provided information about their organisations, new products and technologies. Exhibitors included Platinum Sponsors – Energy Safe Victoria, Gold Sponsors – Incolink, IAPMO, Reece and the VBA, Silver Sponsors – B.K.B Building Solutions, Bostik and Cbus and a raft of industry sponsors including Rehau, Testo, Rheem, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and Standards Australia.
Attendees were able to visit the expo where they were served a light luncheon and could take the time to learn about new products or services and network with suppliers, industry representatives and fellow attendees.
The Apprentice Skills competition started at 7am and finished in the afternoon after a demanding 6 hours of hard work put in by the competitors. The WPD Plumbing Apprentice Skills Competition is an opportunity for leading apprentices to display their skills and knowledge of plumbing and mechanical services in a practical demonstration.
At 2:30pm the apprentice’s time was up and the judges reviewed the impressive show of skills and high standard of workmanship to select the finalists. First place for the Sprinkler Fitting competition was awarded to Odin Daniels from the Services Trade College in Queensland and the Plumbing top prize was awarded to Dale Bux who was nominated by his employer, Trio Plumbing.
Special mentions also go to the second and third place winners of the Plumbing competition, Luke Pettenon and Matthew Zammit, both from Victoria Polytechnic and second and third place for the sprinkler competition, Brad MacKenzie from Fire Industry Training and Josh Von Bischoffhausen from the Services Trades College in Queensland.
Planning for next year’s 2017 event has already begun, with events to be held across multiple PICAC campuses. For information about the 2017 World Plumbing Day Event to be held at PICAC, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03) 9356 8905.