Modularity/ Off-Site Construction Revisited.

I would like to return to the topic of modular/off-site construction as it could impact significantly on the profession as will the introduction of artificial intellenge and robots both could create a revolution in the way plumbers operate. Interest is growing in this development as the advantages are being highlighted with a number of large companies who are beginning to invest in the process. It involves some or all of the fabrication or assembly of components being carried out within the controlled environment of the factory or workshop rather than on- site. Even though the associated costs are much the

Artificial Intelligence and Plumbing

I want to return to the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the possible consequences on the plumbing profession. Commentators continue to offer their ideas on the impact of AI and the introduction of robots. Their views span a wide spectrum ranging from significant to less significant consequences. It is a fascinating but complex topic particularly as it relates to practical and trade professions. Alan Turin articulated his ideas when laying the foundations of computing and information technology. His question about the limits of the introduction of robots is fundamental and commentators still attempt to address the possible answers. Robots

Working Relationships and Partnerships in Plumbing

One of the most important aspects associated with plumbing are the effectiveness of working partnerships between all the elements of the profession, colleges and other training providers. The value of such relationships and partnerships cannot be overestimated. Having been a principal this was one aspect I encouraged but was aware that such relationships could become stained because of financial and political problems within the college. There was always the danger that colleges and staff could become preoccupied and inward looking with internal issues and as a result neglect external links. This again was often associated with financial cuts or problems

The Importance of Workplace Mathematics

Questions continue to be raised about the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools and colleges and the levels of participation in the subject post-16. Questions continue to arise about its purpose and centrality in the schools national curriculum and the introduction of functional mathematics in vocational awards. In addition, concerns are being raised about the quality and quantity of students entering further and higher education to study courses that require mathematics such as plumbing. We live in a technological society based on mathematics and science, so it is concerning that schools, colleges and universities continue to turn out students

ARE CURIOSITY AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS THREATENED?

Richard Evans is the Chairman of the CIPHE’s Education and Training Group. In this issue, Richard covers the issues surrounding Information Technologies Communications (ITCs). Currently there is a great debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the ITCs particularly with retrieving information from the internet. I would like to explore some of the issues as they relate to education and in particular to teaching and learning. I fully accept that there are many advantages associated with such technologies. However it is essential that the disadvantages must be acknowledged and recognised by teachers and the learners. Evidence from a number of

Modularity in Building Houses: A Possible Revolution?

Richard Evans is the Chairman of the CIPHE’s Education and Training Group. In this issue, Richard covers the housing shortage and a possible solution in modular housing. As we all know, the problems associated with the acute shortage of housing in this country, particularly with social housing, continue. In spite of successive governments’ statements to address and resolve the situation, all have failed. Currently one consequence of this issue is the increasing number of homeless people. One possible solution that is being proposed is a greater move to manufactured modular houses. Interest is growing in this development as the advantages

The Chinese Zodiac

A fascinating topic. The Chinese Zodiac – Sheng(1) Xiao(4) is based on a twelve year cycle. Each year is represented by an animal. The table below shows the animals: Rat – Yhu(3). Ox – niu(2). Tiger – hu(3). Rabbit – yu(4)zi. Dragon – long(2), Snake – she(2). Horse – ma(3). Goat – yang(2). Monkey – hou(2). Rooster – ji(1). Dog – gou(3). Pig – zhu(1). Just as in other astrology, each of the Chinese animals represents a different personality types and a person’s general attributes and possible careers. Theories have been developed to predict one’s personality, fortune and major life

Chinese Money

The history of Chinese money is another fascinating topic covering a period of over 3000 years. The present currency is known as the people’s currency namely the re(2)min(2)bi(4). It assumed that the name since 1949 and is the legal tender on the Chinese mainland but not in Hong Kong and Macau.The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau use the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca, respectively. The basic unit of the currency is the yuan(2)) which derives from yuan(2) which means round after the shape of the coins. One tenth of the yuan is often called a

Chinese Numbers

Chinese Numbers Today speakers of Chinese use three written numeric systems namely the Arabic numerals used worldwide and two indigenous systems. The most familiar indigenous one is based on Chinese characters that correspond to numerals in the spoken language. The second indigenous system is the Su(1)zhou(1) or hua(1)ma(3) – literally meaning picture number which is based on the rod system (see later). Today the hua(1)ma(3) system is only used for showing prices in Chinese markets or on traditional invoices. Chinese people are fascinated by numbers and wherever you go in the country there are numbers everywhere and not just in

ASSESSMENT OF PRIOR LEARNING

One of the topics discussed at a recent meeting of the Education Training Group (ETG) was Assessment of Prior Learning (APL). It arose from discussions on the important issue of recognising experienced workers who have (for many reasons) not gained formal qualifications. These individuals represent a significant part of the plumbing profession, and as a result play an essential role in professional application of their skills and knowledge in the services they provide to their employers and the public. They have gained this expertise over many years. Many would have been apprentices and entered employment some years ago when entry to