From education to employment

Trainee Plumbers could help fill skills gap for lead workers

Introduction to Plumbing students pictured with lecturer Alan Reid (far left) and Alan Marshall of Jamestown Metals/Associated Lead Mills Ltd (far right)

Students completing Plumbing courses at Borders College this year are fortunate to have sponsorship support from a national provider of quality lead and sheet metal products.

Jamestown Metals/Associated Lead Mills Ltd (JML/ALM), located in Glasgow and Wales, is committed to working closely with governing bodies and training providers and was referred to the College by William Wilson who previously supplied JML/ALM products to the College on a wholesale basis. Following meetings and discussions a partnership arrangement was made, with JML/ALM now directly supplying the College’s construction department with sheet lead and other materials for Introduction to Plumbing students and 1st year Plumbing Apprentices to use within their practical studies.

Lead work is widely viewed as a dying trade, with many companies now finding that they have to outsource skilled lead workers due to a shortage of local tradesmen. Both Borders College and JML/ALM hope to revive the industry by passing on valuable skills to the future workforce, including replica work and the ability to recreate legacy styles.

Plumbing Lecturer Alan Reid explains, “Lead work gives the students an extra string to their bow, helping them to demonstrate their employability and value to employers,” adding that this partnership can only further enhance their experience with a traditional material still being used on modern sheet weathering installations today.

Working with quality materials also teaches the students to respect their materials, and the importance of handling customers’ own installations with care.

Alan Marshall, Area Sales Manager at JML/ALM, visited the College to deliver Continual Professional Development sessions to students, explaining the history of lead and how it is fabricated at the company factory, with plans to demonstrate practical techniques in the workshop in the near future.

This type of input from industry is extremely valuable to students, and Alan Reid hopes that the experience will help the students in their upcoming assessments. JML/ALM itself hopes to roll this approach out nationally following its success at Borders College, with Alan Marshall saying:

“Jamestown Metals/ALM Ltd wants to be proactive and widely seen as the partner for all industries, linking up College training with advanced training using quality materials and skills, and bringing forward the next generation of lead workers.”

JML/ALM recently opened a training academy in London, with plans to open another in Glasgow and the potential for Borders College staff and students to visit the academy and see the mill in operation.

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