To be or not to be CPD - By Robert Winn

06 Mar 2018 8:22 AM | Anonymous

Wow, what a change has swiftly come upon us. Having started my own plumbing Career 14 yrs ago PIRB didn’t exist, it was but a twinkle in IOPSA’s eye. How I learnt my plumbing was through those around me. I did an apprenticeship and have no formal plumbing training. Was this the best way?

Time has shown us that if we only have one source of learning we tend to fall horribly short. I have always been hungry for knowledge, I want to know more, I want to do things the best I can. Why? That’s so much effort, right? I hear plumbers saying I just want to do my work and go home and enjoy my life. What kind of a life is that?

My most valuable asset is myself. My knowledge is power for me to create a better life than just doing my job. I get to create hope for those around me by being able to up sell my skills. When I walk into a client’s house and am able to tell them that according to SANS 10254 their geyser installation needs to be rectified. It makes me feel proud to be a plumber that I am the same quality as an engineer.

How did I learn about the SANS 10254? Only because of PIRB, without this board I would have ended up without a business because as many of you know if you don’t install according to the SANS and sign a COC you are held liable and need to correct your mistakes. Fortunately for me I am hungry to learn and then to teach my fellow workers and employees but unfortunately from what I have learned is that there are many that just don’t care.

They are not proud plumbers because all they want to do is work with their hands and spend no time in self-investment. Yes, I work with my hands, but I need to work with my brain and learn new things. In my life time watching how fast technology has advanced is breath takingly incredible. Surely the plumbing industry is advancing as well? If you don’t think it is, you better get out from under that rock because you will very shortly find your table without food.

IOPSA is working hard at keeping its members current on what PIRB is doing and how they are both advancing the South African National Standards (SANS). They are changing peoples’ perceptions of what a plumber is. But that won’t happen unless we educate ourselves. So PIRB looked at the Australian system that is working so well and how can we apply it in South Africa. Yes, it’s a work in progress and is being constantly worked at by Lea and Martin’s Team.

So the real question is to be or not to be CPD? What is Continuous professional Development?
In many professional industries such as doctors etc. What is it for? And why all the fuss and why do I now at the age of 40+ have to start doing these CPD points. The webinars, the meetings, this is not what I signed up for as a plumber right? Well you are wrong. I don’t want to be classified with the same guy who calls himself a plumber but who’s workmanship is sub standard and doesn’t even know his own regulations which he signed up to the day he decided to be a plumber.

I am proud to be a plumber and if CPD is the way to ensure I and my fellow plumbers increase our standard of work, I whole heartedly embrace the challenges that will come with it. Because I know the future moves on and will do so without me unless I keep up with the changing times. The only constant in our lives is “change”.

What saddens me is that my fellow plumbers are fighting this change and instead of seeing the CPD system as a great way to increase their work and knowledge they see it as a waste of their time. They are not prepared to invest any time into their self-development. My question to you is how without Continuous Professional Development are you going to comply to the changing standards?

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