Written by Geoff Bilau 1:15 am Column

IAPMO Crowns International Plumbing Champions at Conclusion of WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) was pleased to participate as a Global Industry Partner in the Plumbing and Heating event at WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition (WSC2022SE), Nov. 2-4 at GROHE Technikum in Lahr, Germany.

The competition showcased national champions from 20 WorldSkills member countries, in a unique test of technical skill, problem solving, and overall knowledge of the profession against the clock. The young competitors were assessed on a simulated bathroom installation – a shower, toilet, and basin system – including some of GROHE’s latest products and incorporating a further copper heating fixture.

“Building a modern hygiene infrastructure requires a different skillset for today’s advanced technologies,” said IAPMO CEO and World Plumbing Council (WPC) Deputy Chair Dave Viola. “A good plumber is so much more than a person who knows how to turn a wrench. WorldSkills Plumbing and Heating competitors will demonstrate a comprehensive skillset, balancing technical ability with thorough knowledge of both the implements and science necessary to ensure a safe, reliable plumbing or heating system.”

Viola relished the opportunity to present medals to the winning champions, concluding a thrilling three-day competition at the celebratory closing ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5. Viola was joined by IAPMO Chief Administrative Officer and WPC Secretariat Gaby Davis, as well as IAPMO President David Gans and Vice President Steve Panelli, both experiencing a WorldSkills competition for the first time.

Plumbing and Heating competitor Florian Bliem of Austria captured the gold. Joint silver medals were awarded to Tom Pean of France and Marton Offner of Hungary, and the bronze medal was won by Tai-Yu Chen of Chinese Taipei.

Indicative of the high standard of this year’s long-awaited, rescheduled competition, six additional entrants were awarded medallions for achieving a final assessment above WorldSkills’ benchmark for excellence: Sangyeop Kim (Korea), Saku Hurtig (Finland), Luca Herzog (Switzerland), Connor Cruden (United Kingdom), Fabian Grün (Germany), and Yuto Itahashi (Japan).

“What we are seeing today at WorldSkills is the best of the best, showcasing their skills and inspiring other people to do their best quality work,” Gans said. “We are looking at the future of plumbing, and plumbers. These are the young men and women who are going to take plumbing to the next level and help change the world.”

The event also showcased a new Plumbing Champions training activity, sponsored by the WPC and delivered by the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH), charitable arm of The IAPMO Group. Three young students, accompanied by one mentor and one interpreter — all from Ukraine — were sponsored to participate in an educational workshop completing the same test project as was tackled in the WorldSkills competition, guided and supported by technical experts from IAPMO and GROHE.

On top of the world…Left to right: Csilla Szigetvari (Expert, Hungary) and Marton Offner (Silver Medalist, Hungary); Tom Pean (Silver Medalist, France) and Nicolas Coindet (Expert, France); Thomas Hofer (Expert, Austria) and Florian Bliem (Gold Medalist, Austria); Tai-Yu Chen (Bronze Medal ––ºist, Chinese Taipei) and Shiuan Sheng Wang (Expert, Chinese Taipei).

“IAPMO brings education and skills into the heart of communities around the world,” Viola said. “We’re thinking about the whole system and the people responsible for operating and maintaining them. We accomplish this crucial work by tapping into the almost 100 years of industry experience in developing local infrastructure, improving governance, and creating conditions conducive to better public health and economic outcomes through water and sanitation.”

Mayor of the city of Lahr Markus Ibert paid a special tribute to the Ukrainian group in his closing remarks.

“I would like to thank all participants who made this special event possible, and I wish you all the best for your ongoing life; success, and peace — especially to our guests from Ukraine. To you, to your families and your neighbors, have a good time, in peace, and with benefits, for a good life.”

The biennial WorldSkills international competition returns in September 2024, where it will be hosted in Lyon, France.

For more information about WorldSkills, visit https://worldskills.org/.

Geoff Bilau
Editor, Senior Writer for Marketing and Communications at IAPMO

Last modified: May 8, 2024