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Plumbing Ambassadors Appointed on World Plumbing Day to Inspire Future Tradies

2022 MPAQ Plumbing Ambassadors

Pictured (left to right): The Hon. Michael de Brenni MP - Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement, Natalie Denning – Fallon Solutions, Brett McIlvride – PRP Services, Kent Vickers - MPAQ President, Stephen Morton – Morton Plumbing NQ, Ben Byrne – CQ Relining Pty Ltd and Penny Cornah – MPAQ Executive Director (not pictured: Damian Connor – Evermore Plumbing & Gas).

On Friday 11 March, Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland (MPAQ) revealed the 2022 Queensland Plumbing Ambassadors: Brett McIlvride – PRP Services, Stephen Morton – Morton Plumbing NQ, Ben Byrne – CQ Relining, Damian Connor – Evermore Plumbing & Gas, and Natalie Denning – Fallon Solutions. The announcement was made in front of over 300 attendees at the World Plumbing Day Industry Breakfast, which was held at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

World Plumbing Day is celebrated on 11 March every year, everywhere and is now a fixture on the calendars of political and social institutions around the globe. World Plumbing Day aims to spread awareness of the importance of plumbing and plumbers in protecting public health, as well as celebrating all the important work plumbers have done to improve the world.

The plumbing community has a vital role in promoting the link between good quality plumbing, health, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity.

MPAQ Executive Director, Penny Cornah, said “this is an important opportunity for the whole community to appreciate the hard work performed by members of our industry.”

“Queensland plumbers are experts in their field, who deliver the highest standards in health and safety throughout the world,” said Ms Cornah.

“While we should celebrate the industry and those who play an important part in it, World Plumbing Day also allows us to reflect on the future of our industry, and ensuring that we see a diverse, engaged, and skilled future workforce is essential to that.”

The ambassadors were chosen to represent MPAQ and promote this important trade to school students and career-seekers across the state, focussing on raising awareness to students about studying an apprenticeship and explaining where a trade can take them both professionally and personally. The ambassadors will also be focussed on engaging with business owners to grow the number of opportunities available to those seeking a plumbing apprenticeship.

“I would like to congratulate this year’s ambassadors and thank them for giving up their time to help us develop the future of our industry. I look forward to working with them,” said Ms Cornah.

About the Ambassadors

Brett McIlvride is a licensed plumber, drainer, gas fitter, and owner of PRP Services in Brisbane. Beginning his career in New South Wales, Brett has been in the industry for over 25 years and loves sharing his knowledge and passion for the trade with others.

Brett said, “I want the plumbers of tomorrow to be well rounded, and I want to be able to show that everyone in the industry benefits from knowing all facets of the trade.”

“There is so much more to the trade that can be inspirational to the younger generation. I want to promote the plumbing industry and the trade as being more than just a guy that can sort out your blocked toilet,” he said.

Stephen Morton, a licensed plumber, drainer, and gas fitter, is the Business Operations Manager for Morton Plumbing in North Queensland. With plumbing in his blood, Stephen started his plumbing career over 32 years ago working in his family’s business.

Stephen said, “I want to show people where a career in plumbing can take you; it can expand in many avenues and even take you overseas.”

Stephen has taken his passion for plumbing and developed his skills across a wide range of areas, including working for regional councils, major mining operations, and even in Papua New Guinea, before recently returning to the family business to train the next generation of family plumbers with his brother, Ben Morton.

Stephen will focus on the North Queensland region as one of MPAQ’s regional ambassadors.

Ben Byrne is a licensed plumber, drainer, gas fitter, and owner of CQ Relining Pty Ltd in Yeppoon. Ben developed his passion for the industry working in a Reece Plumbing store before being taken on as an apprentice by a customer.

Ben said, “I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now and my business is at the stage where I have the time to give back to the industry, something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

“I see the Ambassador program as a chance to ‘share the love’, promote the industry, and guide the next generation of plumbers into their careers,” he said.

Ben will focus on the Central Queensland region as one of MPAQ’s regional ambassadors.

Damian Connor is a licensed plumber, drainer, gas fitter, and owner of Evermore Plumbing & Gas Pty Ltd in Ferny Hills. As a school leaver, Damian was faced with a parental ultimatum to either head to university or take up a trade. He knew he could thrive outside of a classroom, so went down the trade route and has never looked back.

Damian said, “there is a serious skills shortage in our industry and too many great people are pushed towards university when it’s not always the best fit.”

“I want to impart my knowledge and promote plumbing to get more future plumbers into apprenticeships,” he said.

Natalie Denning is the HR Director and Owner of Fallon Solutions in Mansfield and has been involved in the plumbing industry for over 17 years. As an employer and parent, Natalie has seen firsthand the types of workers that it takes to become a great plumber.

Natalie said, “I have an interest in supporting more high school students to actively choose a technical trade vocation to support an industry that is in increasingly short supply.”

“I believe there is a disproportionate skew towards tertiary education where a trade may be the better choice for many students actually ill-suited to academic study and the associated work derived from degree qualifications,” she said.

“I am also interested in working with the relevant apprenticeship agencies to ensure apprenticeships are full bodied enough in content to ensure tradespeople exit their apprenticeship enabled to fully engage in the technical trade they are then qualified in.”

About World Plumbing Day and Plumbers

World Plumbing Day is an international event on 11 March initiated by the World Plumbing Council.

World Plumbing Day seeks to highlight the vital role that plumbers play in maintaining and protecting the health and safety of the community through the provision of clean drinking water and the appropriate management of waste. The plumbing industry makes an extraordinary contribution to human health, the environment and prosperity; however, it is minimally recognised. In recent years, we have seen an increase in awareness of water and energy usage, and the plumbing industry is proactive in promoting the accurate and timely management of water supplies. Population growth coupled with an increase in urbanisation reveals that management of water supplies and waste water services is of paramount importance in Australia.

Plumbing plays one of the most vital roles in managing the health and safety of the local community, as well as the wider community. It is for this reason that it is so import that plumbers are publicly recognised for their hard work and long studied skills.

– ENDS –

For further information contact:

Penny Cornah
Executive Director
Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland
0418 724 457
(07) 3273 0800

The Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland (MPAQ)
is the peak industry body representing plumbing
contractors throughout Queensland, from sole operators
to medium sized plumbing businesses and large
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