Written by Eamonn Ryan
The IOPSA eLearning platform was launched last year, having been developed internally. It has taken over the online training function from previous service provider Articulate-IT, and is set to include a great deal more functionality than is the case at the moment.
Kaela Wilson, IOPSA marketing manager, says: “We had a vision to have a single hub or one-stop-shop for every plumber’s career progression plan – from every aspect of the plumber’s training needs, to a database of work experience and qualifications to business ownership. Consequently, this had to be internally managed by the industry for the industry – rather than through an external service provider.”
Previously, the content was IOPSA’s but the platform was owned by a service provider. “We have brought the platform inhouse and now own the entire process, and provide everything to do with the training of plumbing, and for plumbers to acquire their CPD points. In addition to our regular webinars, including the regular Toolbox Talks, Monday morning Business 101, Tech Talks; any service provider such as ArticulateIT (which still produces content) or accredited training schools can provide its training courses on the platform either free-of-charge, or paid for at a cost entirely determined between the service provider and learner.”
On top of that, the Training website contains the entire curriculum to become a plumber. “We are continually adding new content, each week.”
IOPSA vets all such content to ensure it is technically correct and plumbing related, and if it meets its criteria, it is upload to the eLearning platform. There are two ways to access the platform:
- Via IOPSA’s website (Iopsa.org), by clicking on Training which takes one to the eLearning system, or
- Directly to the Training site (Iopsatraining.org) where you have to register by creating a profile.
Everything is now contained within the website – meaning there will be no email reminders that a webinar is about to commence. Plumbers simply choose which course they wish to do, and open the desired webinar.
“The reason for creating your own profile is that this is only the start of a lifelong process. The eLearning platform over time will grow to become each plumber’s digital CV, listing every course and job experience he/she has had, and even every webinar they have watched. Each action of that nature will generate a digital certificate, which will be added to their profile. It would follow all the training they have done over the years, and in time we want to have a function whereby they can share their profile with others, for instance when applying for a new job. There will in time be sections for employment experience or where they have their own business. This will all be verified by the individual’s own actions and certification, and endorsed by IOPSA.
“It will in time become a one-stop-shop for all one’s plumbing training, and membership database. In fact, we are trying to encourage students to come onto the platform right at the commencement of their career when they’ve just decided on plumbing, perhaps even while they are still at school,” says Wilson.