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World Plumbing Day 'reminder of need to plug New Zealand’s plumber shortage'

11 March 2022
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World Plumbing DayNew Zealand needs a 30% increase in qualified plumbers if we are to plug the skills shortage.

With close to 49,000 building consents issued in 2021, up 24 percent from the previous year, plumbers and other construction workers are in huge demand.

"World Plumbing Day, marked around the world on 11 March, is a chance to acknowledge the vital work that plumbers do to ensure New Zealand homes are sanitary, healthy and warm, with safe water to drink," says Greg Wallace, CEO of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ.

"Plumbers are in more demand than ever as New Zealand grapples with a housing shortage and many homeowners choose to renovate rather than take overseas holidays due to the Covid pandemic."

The Government’s Apprenticeship Boost subsidy has been successful in growing the number of plumbing businesses taking on apprentices, but Master Plumbers wants to see this continue well beyond August 2022.

"There has been a 60 percent increase in the number of apprentices beginning their apprenticeships from 2020 to 2021," says Wallace.

"Whilst this is extremely encouraging, we continue to advocate for ongoing financial support for the businesses who commit to providing the on-job training apprentices need as part of their qualification.

"The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, so we must ensure a steady pipeline of apprentices coming through to fill the gaps."

Wallace says it’s encouraging to see growing numbers of women entering the industry, as they see the benefits of a lasting, varied career without the burden of a student loan.

"With women making up 50 percent of the New Zealand population, it makes sense that they have the same opportunities in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.

"It is fantastic to see the first-ever woman winning the latest Plumbing World Young Plumber of the Year competition, which Master Plumbers gets behind each year."

As World Plumbing Day highlights, access to clean freshwater and good sanitation are not taken for granted in many countries around the world.

"We are fortunate in New Zealand to enjoy the services of qualified, authorised plumbers-but we need many more.

"With industry demand continuing to expand, this is a great time for young New Zealanders to consider a career in this essential industry."

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