The domestic plumbing industry is undergoing a radical change as people are beginning to perceive the bathroom space and bath products, differently.
Firstly, bathrooms have moved inside homes and are even becoming an extension of the bedroom. This calls for a robust plumbing design and unique fittings. Secondly, people are craving for comfortable and beautiful bathrooms in their homes. This requires not only selection of suitable products and systems, but also proper installation to achieve lifetime service and a superlative experience.
To arrive at such a situation what’s needed is a pool of trained workforce. “At present, such a skilled workforce is not available in India,” says Vinay Gupta, chairman, Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC). “An unskilled plumber may ruin expensive products and systems during installation itself, and end up providing a bad experience for the customers. We need a certified workforce which is able to appreciate and install cutting-edge products without wasting time.”
An estimated 90% of the workforce in the domestic plumbing industry is not trained and certified. The country has only 3.52 lakh skilled but uncertified plumbers for its 135 crore people. This means that only one plumber services every 3,833 people. According to Gupta, IPSC is gearing up to change the equation: one plumber for every 1,500 people.
“We want to certify 12 lakh plumbers by 2022. We have already certified 70,000 of them ever since the launch of the Skill India mission in July 2015. We are planning to certify 2,25,000 existing plumbers and freshers this year. Thereafter, we want to increase the number of trained plumbers by 30% to 40% every year,” Gupta informs.
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IPSC has been building infrastructure across the country to accomplish such a mammoth goal. “In the first two years or so our focus was to build basic infrastructure by designing the curriculum, roping in training partners and assessment agencies, etc.” The Council has joined hands with manufacturers, universities, and institutes. Besides, it is reaching out to corporates for partnerships. IPSC is guiding the corporates on setting up and operationalising skill development centres as knowledge partners in order to bring standardisation to the industry. “This streamlined approach is bringing about uniformity by using the same tools and techniques across the country and doing away with wasteful expenditure. The government too is spending on training partners and other skilling needs under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).”
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For generating employment opportunities, IPSC has launched mobile app Plumber Konnect that enables consumers to hire plumbers at the touch of a button. The council has also signed a MoU with ITEC for placement of the Indian workforce in UAE/GCC/MENA regions. “We have training partners such as GM Shiptech, HR Technical Trade, and Quivan Skill Empowerment to facilitate overseas placement in Singapore, the Middle East, and East Asia. We are also working with migration agents to aggregate demand for overseas plumber placement. Besides, we are embracing innovative methods to aggregate demand by adopting Google Forms that can be submitted through computers, tablets or even mobile phones. We have opened a placement cell in Dubai with an industry partner.”