Written by Eamonn Ryan
The PIRB has made changes to the CPD points required by registered plumbers. Herewith the release from the PIRB.
“Continuous Professional Development is an integral part of ensuring the standard of the profession remains high, and that of your own self development and improvement.
“As the PIRB and you the registered plumber, we ought to strive on being collaborative in our efforts to move the industry forward. We listened to your requests in lowering the CPD points requirements and we are pleased to inform you that we will be reducing the yearly CPD points requirements from 25 points to 20 points for all licensed/qualified categories of registration.
“This change in the CPD requirement will come into effect as of the 1st of October 2021. For further information please feel free to contact the PIRB offices.”
In an earlier article on The Master Plumber, Lea Smith, PIRB chairperson, said: “Competency among companies does not lie in the company itself, but that of the people who work within the company. It goes without saying that the more competent people within a company, the better likelihood that the company would carry that competency through in the service they provide to the consumer.”
Therefore, one of the changes under discussion is the ‘Company Performance Review’. This is a project in its evolutionary stage, though the first area of application has been identified in the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) process. The objective is to shift the focus of CPD from a ‘have to do’ chore to an insightful and more fulfilling activity. This can be accomplished by applying the methodology of gamification with self-motivated goals and targets, with winners and top achievers being rewarded. While it will initially be applied to CPD, based on its response it holds the potential to be extended to many other areas falling within PIRB’s mandate.
“The more you perform some function, the more rewards you get,” explains Smith of gamification, “which we at PIRB are in the process of implementing across a range of activities, with perhaps the easiest to describe being CPD. The more CPD points a plumber accumulates the higher the status they can achieve, and certain rewards would flow from that.”
The concept of gamification aims to drive and reward good behaviour and is popular because human beings are so visually orientated – they like to see some acknowledgement or status associated with their above the norm efforts. Simply think of the like button in popular social media platform Facebook.
“We want to gamify the CPD process with a form of league table which shows who’s doing best each month. With this we could reward them for standing out in what is after all an activity which is for their own betterment. We wanted to be able to determine who are the best performing plumbers in PIRB, but first need actual tools to do so.
“CPD is a massive metrix – the more you develop yourself, the better you are as a person. On top of that, if each person in your business is actively doing CPD then your business as a whole is going to be performing better, and in turn benefit us as all an industry,” says Smith.
There are other measures in the planning stages that can be applied to this concept, including audits. Points can be awarded for receiving clean audits (and possibly minus points for negative audits), which added to the CPD ranking begins to differentiate how each plumbing company is performing, as opposed to just the individual plumbers.
“As we bring company membership into the PIRB it becomes necessary to rank them in some manner for the benefit of the consumer’s decision-making process. This ranking will be the aggregate of the points scored by all the plumbers working for it. It would be averaged out to remove the distinction of the size of the company – it is competency and professionalism that we are striving for,” says Smith.
“When looking at performance on a company level, many other aspects come into play – their BEE rating, having a tax clearance certificate, public liability insurance to protect the consumer’s premises etc. This gives the consumer a clearer picture of who they are hiring and whether that plumbing company meets their professional expectations. As the process unfolds, many other positive behaviours in areas like human resources and fair play can be brought into it – but that is too early to look at yet.
“This will be adjusted over time, just as we still adjust the CPD point-scoring process, to target certain competencies that at a moment in time have become more relevant than others. This is a logical process: it started with the consumer drive. We realised consumer want plumbing companies so PIRB had to evolve from being purely individual orientated to a dual membership structure addressing both individuals and companies. We started onboarding companies three months ago.
“When we formally introduce this gamification some time in the near future, we will certainly incentivise plumbers and their companies to participate and see the benefit of it. There will be a list of financial and other incentives which will make it worth their while to participate,” says Smith. At a minimum, plumbing companies will benefit from having a high ranking in the PIRB league table from which consumers will be selecting their plumber.
“Ultimately, I believe the push to raise standards will come from plumbing companies themselves and the professional plumbers working for them, who wish to stand out from the crowd,” he says.