IOPSA’s Western Cape region has had a tough time of it lately. There are rumblings on the ground and murmurings in the air that suggest that IOPSA as an organisation is failing in its mandate. Speaking of which, just what is its mandate? Why does it exist? What does it do for the plumber, and why should he/she part with hard-earned cash to be part of it? Well I’m not here to give a lengthy nuts-and-bolts dissemination of every detail of IOPSA’s role in the plumbing industry. What I can tell you though is that at the WC regional level (driven down from National), one thing has started to come sharply into focus as a non-negotiable: Service. Service to the plumber and the industry. There needs to be value for the plumber. There needs to be a perception of “getting something out”, and it needs to start with the EXCO members. One thing’s for sure- the people in the organisation, from National down to regional EXCO volunteers- are rock solid, we all collectively have the same goals and passions to see the INDUSTRY grow. Without a successful and thriving plumbing sector everything else falls apart. Now we can sit and debate just how this is to be achieved, and we will- but for now we need you to know that certainly at WC EXCO level, (And I’m sure I speak for all others) there will be a concerted drive to start to serve you, the plumber.
It’s early days, and there are many ideas on the table but here are some to whet your appetite:
- 1) More events, and in more locations- In the past there may have been 3-4 plumbers evenings in the Western Cape per year. And most if not all of those would have taken place in and around Cape Town. Guys and girls from Paarl, Worcester, Hermanus, Stellies...all of the outlying areas have had to travel extensively to get to these events. And they have been! We want to try our best to change that, to move the events around and hopefully have plumbers evenings and other events outside of Cape Town.
- 2) More info at plumbers evenings- Although there has always been valuable information and material available at these events, we would like to up the ante a bit. I, as the technical representative of the WC EXCO would like to introduce a technical session at each plumbers evening. The content of these will vary, but I would like to start to unpack the SANS requirements and have discussions around those. Also, we are hoping to set up more interesting events such as factory tours and in-depth product knowledge. These are always fascinating and welcomed by most technically-minded people I know.
- 3) Promotion of members- We hope to find ways of driving home the message that to use properly trained plumbers is non-negotiable, and the advantages of using plumbers that are registered with the industry bodies such as IOPSA and PIRB.
- 4) Bridging gaps- As mentioned earlier, there are a great many plumbers that feel like they have been let down by IOPSA, or that IOPSA is self-serving, or that IOPSA is only in it for the money, or that…or…or….. Well we hope to change that. We believe that all roleplayers in the plumbing sector want the same thing- for it to be thriving and sustainable. Is there a sure-fire way to get everyone singing off the same hymn sheet? No, but it starts with reaching out, cooperation, discussion and HEARING one another. The guys and gals that are passionately dead-set against the notion of an IOPSA or similar body are EXACTLY the ones we want in our corner. Their passion is already clearly evident, and that is gold.