To be or not to be? Blog by Darren McNestry, Gas Trainer/Assessor & IV
BLOG BY DARREN MCNESTRY, GAS TRAINER/ASSESSOR AND INTERNAL VERIFER
TO BE OR NOT TO BE?, THAT IS THE QUESTION.
The need to be trained and assessed when working on gas has been in discussions for many years. Apart from the fact its the against the law to be working on gas without the necessary qualifications and registration with Gas Safe, one way to look at this would be to look at two different types of gas engineer.
The first would be a very experienced gas engineer who has worked on gas for many years. The second would be a recently qualified with limited work experience. We may think that the experienced engineer would be as safe as anyone would be. In some cases this may not be entirely true.
Over the years some engineers may have fallen out of touch with current standards and procedures. Whether this is because of restricted access to updates or technical bulletins, which are now made widely available by organisations such as Gas Safe, or is it because this engineer does not like change to his current way of working and will work to a standard that they have come accustomed to over the years. It could also be the thought of being put into a training and assessment centre with the perception and fear of their work standard being questioned.
This is far from the truth as a very high percentage of engineers who have recently been on our gas courses give positive feedback on their experience and are keen to book up for further training courses to extend their knowledge.
With the continued growth and development of heating systems, most gas engineers would use installation and repairs of heating systems/boilers as their core business income. This will sometimes lead to an engineer focusing on just this one element of the gas industry and not keeping up to date with new standards or changes in legislation involved in other elements.
In the past I have spoke to numerous customers who have made comments like: “I had Mr Gasman round for some advice on fitting a new gas fire but was told he only fits combi boilers now and do I want a price for that instead”. These engineers choose not to get involved in certain jobs even though customers can check with Gas Safe and see these engineers are gas qualified in most if not all elements of gas work.
Thousands of customers gain confidence and trust in someone they can access for advice on any subject to do with gas should the matter arise. As gas safety has and still is being promoted to make more people aware of the dangers relating to gas this surely can do nothing but expand a company’s customer base and customer satisfaction rates, if this company is engaged in giving not just advice but has the ability to complete a job to a high standard using current up to date practices.
We all see nowadays television adverts etc. promoting good companies based on feedback given from previous customers. My thoughts are that a gas engineer who covers all elements of gas and keeps up to date with legislation changes can give good advice with greater depth of knowledge and understanding on situations than engineers who limit themselves to one type of work.
On the flip side to this coin, what about the recently qualified engineer who is working to all the new standards and will have knowledge to adopt the safest working practise during gas work but may not have the experience to deal with customer expectations and demands.
I feel the key to success in this situation would be to merge the two types of engineer together where both can learn from each other in both new and up to date techniques along with years of experience.
Evidence that we can all see from dangerous gas work photographs in magazines and reports show that it is not always the recently qualified engineer that makes the mistakes or installs the appliance incorrectly, which is sometimes the way new gas engineers are portrayed.
Government reports show they will be a reduced workforce in the gas industry in the not so distant future due to retirement of existing gas engineers etc. before this happens gas related courses are already running to produce a more knowledgeable and multi disciplined workforce for the future for companies to continue to grow.
My thoughts on this are, integration between recently qualified engineers and experienced engineers will play a key part in the success and growth of any business allowing both sides to learn from one another and in time the new engineer will become the experienced engineer and so the cycle will continue, leading to progressive development of an already exciting industry. In doing so customer bases would begin to be built on trust, knowledgeable staff and advice rather than the price of a gas installation. This would then allow the customer to have confidence in getting gas work checked and updated and also recommending a company to other potential customers. Would this not lead to a much safer industry with the reduction of unsafe installations and workmanship?
In learning more about the gas industry over the years I have used the 3 letters E-E-E
“Exceed Expectations Everyday”
All comments & opinions are my own,