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19 December 2023

Irish Plumbing and Heating project repurposed for Dublin charity partner

Led by WorldSkills Global Partners IAPMO and GROHE, plumbing products and materials from the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 National Competition were transferred to a local social housing property.

Plumbing and Heating Champions at the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 National Competition saw their work fulfil a greater purpose beyond the event.

Building on an initiative launched in 2019 – but the first of its kind for WorldSkills Ireland – new plumbing systems assembled as a training project were transferred and installed at a social housing property in Santry, north Dublin, at the close of the show.

This is the fourth such corporate social responsibility initiative at WorldSkills competitions organized by Global Industry Partner IAPMO (the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials), supported by the World Plumbing Council, and delivered by IAPMO’s charitable arm, IWSH (the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation) exploring new approaches for sustainability, legacy, and social impact.

On the final day of WorldSkills Kazan 2019, Plumbing and Heating Competitors and Experts from 30 countries and regions repurposed Competitor’s Test Projects into new toilet and washroom facilities for an orphanage in Kazan, Russia, home to 176 special needs children and teenagers.

In the same spirit, WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition saw three young students from the GROHE Installer Vocational Training & Education Program (GIVE) in Lviv, Ukraine sponsored to take part in an exclusive skills development workshop.

Another project at the WorldSkills Australia 2023 National Championships and Skills Show resulted in the donation and installation of sixteen new hand wash stations for a Yooralla disability enterprise center in Mooroopna, Victoria.

All these initiatives were part of ‘Plumbing Champions’, a wider programme from IWSH and the World Plumbing Council that aims to inspire young people to pursue a career in the skilled trades, encouraging the next generation of plumbers, and highlighting the best talents and best practices from across the international plumbing industry.

For the project in Dublin, IWSH worked with another WorldSkills Global Partner, GROHE, who donated the materials for the social housing bathroom renovation. Transportation and delivery of plumbing systems from the competition venue to the social housing site was provided by DHL, another WorldSkills Global Partner.

Jones Engineering — sponsor of the WorldSkills Ireland Plumbing and Heating competition — also played a key role. Their apprentices oversaw the assembly and installation of the new plumbing systems, working alongside building and maintenance contractors from the nominated local social housing charity partner, Peter McVerry Trust.

Peter McVerry Trust is a housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage across Ireland. The charity provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

“Ireland is immersed in a severe housing crisis, excluding over 12,500 adults and around 4,000 children, which is intolerable in a modern liberal democracy. The population has grown, and we just simply haven’t built enough houses to meet our needs, so that’s driven rents and property prices up, which limits the opportunities then for homeless people,” says Brian Conway, Corporate Engagement Manager at Peter McVerry Trust.

“Transferring the equipment from the Competition into one of our housing complexes is a fantastic initiative. We are very proud. It’s a great story to tell from the sustainability point; because of our joint initiative we see a new opportunity to prevent wastage and really create value for people who really need their problems solved,” he added.

A similar social impact initiative is now being developed for WorldSkills Lyon 2024, where IAPMO, GROHE, and the Plumbing and Heating Skill Competition Management Team have already identified local social partnership opportunities.

“If we want to create truly sustainable programs and projects, then young people are key to maintaining that and delivering that long term,” said Seán Kearney, IWSH Managing Director. “We are really excited to bring this [Plumbing Champions program] forward, continue to build it with our partners, support more people in need, and achieve even greater social impact and legacy for these events.”

Find out more about IAPMO and IWSH.