New CIPHE President hails year of opportunity

A new National President has been elected by the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) following the Institute’s first ever online Annual General Meeting (AGM). Melville Gumbs EngTech MCIPHE RP has been an active member of the CIPHE for 44 years. His plumbing career began when he entered into an apprenticeship at RG Evans Plumbing and Heating and attended both Slough College and Langley College, where his lecturer Bob Garrett (past president of CIPHE) urged Mel to sign up to the Institute.

Mel joined the Surrey Branch Committee 15 years ago, rising to Branch Chairman and then Branch Secretary. He currently helps the Committee arrange CPD for Branch members, so they can continue learning about the latest developments in the industry. The previous year has also seen Mel active in his role as Vice President.

While the beginning of Mel’s presidential year will be steeped in challenges caused by Covid-19, he still has big aspirations for his role, viewing the year ahead full of change, but also opportunity. Summing it up in his inaugural speech, he said:

“The future of plumbing is moving and changing at a very fast pace. We have moved from open vented to pressurised plumbing and heating systems. New change is coming with the end of carbon fossil fuels to greener solutions. Our homes are going to need a dedicated plant room to house cylinders, buffer tanks, plate heat exchangers, along with mains fed pumps to boost pressure and all the different pipework required.

“This means a massive rethink about our knowledge and skill levels. We have to be prepared to access training through manufacturers, training companies, and bodies such as the Institute, which is a leading light in the industry, to get more professional plumbers and heating engineers. It is up to us at the coalface to put our head above the parapet and push for registration of all plumbers, to show the young people coming into the industry that there is a goal to work towards to be a designer, installer and engineer. Plumbers are special! This is a golden opportunity to reach out to all the young people of this land to grasp the future. Compulsory registration and better training is a must in the UK, similar to licensed plumbers in Hong Kong.”

On the key themes for his presidential year, Mel is keen to build CIPHE membership and promote the opportunities available to everyone. “The main goal I would like to attain is to see the membership grow, so that all the guys you see at the merchants are also members… I am looking forward to using my time in office to promote the diversity of the industry to show that you can achieve by believing in yourself and with skill, you can get there.”

Mel concluded his speech by explaining what CIPHE membership has done for his career. He thanked all the members who voted for him, adding he’s committed to giving 100% in his presidential year.

Dr Henry Hung EngTech HON FCIPHE RP has been elected as Vice President.

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