Apprenticeships form a key part of the plumbing industry and should be continued to be promoted and supported going into the future, according to a new study.
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers (CIPHE) carried out the research in partnership with SummitSkills to determine how the present training system is working and where it can be improved.
Around 800 respondents participated in the 12-week investigation, with the bulk of information collected during a three-week period where 500 businesses, individuals and industry bodies were surveyed.
The results of the project, which were revealed during an event at the House of Lords, found the vast majority (98 per cent) of those involved strongly advocated the role of apprentices and believed the plumbing industry should "collectively promote career progression".
A similar proportion (97 per cent) wanted to see the recruitment of more trainees, while more than four-fifths (83 per cent) felt as though apprenticeships should eventually lead to the person involved registering with the Engineering Council at EngTech level.
CIPHE chief executive Kevin Wellman said: "The response from industry has been overwhelming and I commend all those who have participated so far in this important research. It recognises the need for meaningful apprenticeships and the value of professional recognition."
However, the research also indicated that most of the sector was of the opinion that more could be done to improve the current qualification system, with 60 per cent agreeing it wasn't fit for purpose when it came to meeting the needs of apprentices and their employers.
Earlier this year, the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors revealed it would be monitoring the way funding was allocated for apprenticeships, following concerns that businesses could have to pay more for taking on a trainee as a result of plans being considered by the department for Business Innovation and Skills.