Sector offers career hope for hard-hit NI youth

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager and Peter Lynch Plumbing Lecturer at Northern Regional College.

OFTEC Ireland is calling for young people in Northern Ireland to consider an apprenticeship or vocational training in the plumbing and heating sector.

The drive to recruit more people into the heating industry follows a year of uncertainty for the under-25 age group, who according to a briefing paper produced by Ulster University Economists, have experienced the largest falls in employment during the pandemic. The age group has been hard-hit due to the majority working in the retail and hospitality sectors, which have been heavily impacted during the crisis.

With entry-level jobs dealt a heavy blow, OFTEC Ireland has teamed up with Northern Regional College as part of their drive to encourage young people to consider a career in the plumbing and heating sector, where demand for services remain steady.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager said, “Now is a really exciting time to get into the plumbing and heating industry in Northern Ireland. There’s a conscious effort towards decarbonisation targets, which means we’re seeing a range of innovative technologies and solutions to home heating. This generation of heating professionals will be working towards a carbon net zero future and that’s exciting and something to be proud of.

Future demand
“The NI Executive has recently consulted on a new energy strategy for NI and there is discussion around heat pumps, biogas and biofuels. I firmly believe there will be a range of fuels promoted in the new strategy and one common denominator is that all these technologies need to be installed, upgraded and maintained for many years to come. There is little doubt in my mind that a good installer will be in demand for years to come.

“It’s understandably an unsettling time for people who are starting to think about what they want from a career and have been dealt a poor hand by the pandemic in terms of jobs. We are keen to shine a positive light on the plumbing and heating sector as it offers good career prospects in a variety of roles. Trusted and reliable OFTEC registered heating technicians are always in demand.”

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager on T: +44 (0)28 9186 2916
Sean McBride, Ireland Representative on T: +44 (0)7540 502 304
(NI) or +353 (0)87 241 7041 (RoI)