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Plumbing awards recognise commitment to quality and skills

Plumbing awards recognise commitment to quality and skills

Timaru businessman Shaun Breen is the national Master Plumber of the Year.

The Master Plumber of the Year Award recognises Shaun's commitment to providing a quality service to his customers, says Master Plumbers Chief Executive Fiona Gavriel.

Shaun Breen's company, Breen Plumbing, employs 27 staff and is setting up a new base in Christchurch.

"During the current difficult economic times Breen Plumbing has focused on growing the business through providing a higher level of customer service. Shaun recognises the importance of keeping up to date and ensuring his team are well trained," says Ms Gavriel.

Mr Breen says being involved in Master Plumbers, and now wining this award, means customers are able to trust the company and it gives him a point of difference, especially in the current tough economic times.

He says for example Fletcher Construction prefers to use Master Plumbers for Christchurch earthquake recovery work.

The award was presented at the Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Annual Conference. The trade organisation has over 740 member businesses employing over 5000 licensed plumbers.

Master Plumbers also recognised the importance to training to the future of the sector with a number of awards.

Training awards

The Mater Plumbers Trainer of the Year is Vince Basile, of Vince Basile Plumbing in Palmerson North.

Vince has helped dozens of apprentices through their training over his 26 years in business, and the award recognises the active encouragement he provides them.

Ms Gavriel says Vince understands the effort required to build knowledge and skills in the sector.

"Vince has a true commitment to the young people in our industry."

Mr Basile says it's a big commitment to take on an apprentice, and it can be frustrating when they move on after completing their training, but it's important to have people coming through.

Some of his apprentices have been employed through Masterlink, which is Master Plumbers' scheme to find and support apprentices.

The top apprentice award, the James Douglas Medallion, has this year been presented to Scott McBeth from McBeth Plumbing in Taupo.

Scott McBeth is a third generation plumber, and his grandfather joined Master Plumbers 50 years ago.

The James Douglas Medallion has been awarded each year since 1948 to the previous year's top achieving apprentice in plumbing and gasfitting.

Master Plumbers also acknowledged the contribution of a former plumbing tutor, presenting Merv Mitchell of Wellington with the award for Outstanding Services to the Industry.

Merv Mitchell has recently retired from WelTec and has close ties with Master Plumbers and in particular the Hutt Valley Wairarapa Association.

"He has contributed significantly to the training of many apprentices, many of whom owe their success to his support," says Ms Gavriel.

This year there are 1650 plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprentices in New Zealand, but Ms Gavirel wants to encourage more young people in to the industry.

"While the economic conditions have been difficult, looking ahead we can see there will be an ongoing demand for skilled and qualified trades people".

She says the construction sector is expected to face an increasing demand for work in the next few years, because of both recovery work after the Christchurch earthquakes and the ongoing need for new housing and industrial development.

People interested in taking up a plumbing apprenticeship can find out more by contacting Masterlink


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