Written by Mike Flenniken 9:27 pm IWSH

IWSH Launches New Plumbing Champions Initiative at Community Center in Australia 

Plumbing champions assemble frames for handwash stations at WorldSkill championships in Melbourne. 

The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) delivered a new Plumbing Champions social project activity as part of the WorldSkills Australia National Championships & Skills Show, hosted Aug. 17-19 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

Developed and presented by IWSH and the World Plumbing Council, the ongoing Plumbing Champions program aims to inspire young people to pursue a career in the skilled trades, encouraging the next generation of plumbers and highlighting the best talents and practices from across the plumbing – and broader building and construction – industry. The program demonstrates the real-world application of improved plumbing systems assembled in skills competitions or industry trade-show settings for the benefit of local communities. 

For the project in Australia, IWSH coordinated the design, assembly and donation of new hand-washing facilities for the Yooralla Business Enterprise site at Mooroopna, Victoria. Yooralla is an organization that supports people with disabilities of all ages and needs across Melbourne and regional Victoria. The new hand-washing facilities were transported to Yooralla for immediate installation at the end of the skills competition, supported by apprentices from the Plumbing Industry and Climate Action Centre (PICAC), also based in Melbourne. 

“IWSH belongs to the entire IAPMO Group family worldwide, so we are very excited to welcome this new Plumbing Champions initiative to Australia for the first time having seen similar IWSH community plumbing projects delivered in the past few years through partner IAPMO offices in India, Indonesia, and of course the United States,” said Paul Bonsak, managing director of IAPMO Oceania. 

“Over the past 12 months we have completed registration of IWSH Australia with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, so the upcoming project at WorldSkills Australia represents the first of what we hope will be many more innovative and creative new corporate social responsibility efforts together with our fantastic plumbing industry partners here Down Under.” 

The project was further supported with material and tool donations from the Reece, which works with volunteer tradespeople and partners to provide clean water and sanitation to communities in Australia and overseas. 

“Through this Plumbing Champions effort, we provided 16 new individual hand-wash basins with hot and cold water at Yooralla Mooroopna – eight for the main workshop area, and four each for the male and female bathrooms,” said Grant Stewart, IWSH International program director and long-standing WorldSkills Australia representative. “The existing facilities at the site were not fit for purpose, despite its long and valued history in the local community. It was established in 1975 by parents of people with disabilities before being taken over by Yooralla. They are one of Victoria, Australia’s largest and oldest not-for-profit disability service providers, so it is an honor to connect with the upcoming national skills competition to support these plumbing upgrades for carers and staff.” 

Mike Flenniken is a staff writer, Marketing and Communications, for IAPMO. Prior to joining IAPMO in 2010, Flenniken worked in public relations for a group of Southern California hospitals and as a journalist in writing and editing capacities for various Southern California daily newspapers.

Last modified: May 8, 2024