From our President - SNIPEF

From our President

Jim Butter, SNIPEF President 2022-23

On 3 May 1923, at 18 George Street in Edinburgh, a meeting between the Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Perth and Elgin plumbing associations unanimously approved the creation of The Scottish Federation of Plumbers and Domestic Engineers (Employers) Associations, with John Irving installed as its first President.

Now 100 years on, I have the privilege to be SNIPEF’s President during the first half of its centenary year, reflecting on our memorable past and leading the organisation into its second century.

I would like to recognise the debt we owe to all the members who went before us. By reaching this landmark occasion, we can celebrate the work and commitment of the employees at SNIPEF HQ, the SNIPEF members who have served on the SNIPEF Council and the local associations, who have collectively and cooperatively worked together to benefit all our members and the profession.

In 2012, I joined SNIPEF and became an active member of the Dundee & District Master Plumbers Association. Since then, I have had the privilege to meet and network with colleagues in my local area, gradually engaging with the work of SNIPEF and supporting and advising them through good times and challenging times. It has been enlightening, enjoyable and, at times, frustrating but never dull. I am proud that I have had the opportunity to lead the profession and encourage others to take up the challenge to do the same.

As with any landmark celebration, we look back and forward. I have been looking through the Dundee & District Master Plumbers archives, and what struck me was that many of the same discussions we have today regarding apprenticeships, pay, standards, new technologies and social activities were of equal concern and debate throughout the decades.

What also stood out for me was the regular interaction and partnership between the local associations; communicating, advising, updating and collaborating, all done without the instant methods of communication that we enjoy today.

I am sure we can all agree that recent decades have seen significant societal, technological and political changes, the last being of greater significance to Northern Ireland and Scotland. We have continued to evolve as an industry, with skills and knowledge changing to meet technological advancements, and we should be proud of our successes in those areas.

Preparing for our second century

Although this is a moment to reflect and celebrate the last 100 years, we must also prepare for the future and how to meet the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

Over the next 20 years, there will be a £33bn opportunity to decarbonise our energy and heating infrastructure, with many plans only starting to come to fruition. The collaboration I highlighted earlier remains as essential as we move into our second century. As an organisation of over 750 companies employing thousands of plumbers and heat engineers, we can and must collectively inform and influence decision-makers, helping them realise our value and necessity. We will continue to do this, but we need your help and support.

As I will soon hand over the presidency in May 2023, I wish all Members, Associate Members and those who support and maintain our local associations in Northern Ireland and Scotland my best wishes.

Look out for SNIPEF's new Beyond 100 Strategy (2023-25) which will be published in May.

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