The campaigning trade association for the plumbing and heating sector is again enriching the services it offers its Members with the expansion of its Industrial Relations (IR) department and the appointment of another IR specialist.

The Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation has brought HR Management graduate Rosie Ritchie into a full-time IR role within the HR division of the organisation to significantly increase support levels to employers.

Working with Stephanie Lowe, Industrial Relations Manager for SNIPEF, Rosie will offer expert advice to companies on a wide range of IR issues, meeting a demand which has increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic.

She will be in direct contact with employers and other interested parties with a view to helping them attain and maintain the high standards which SNIPEF continues to promote within the industry.

Rosie said: “I am greatly enjoying dealing with employers on a day-to-day basis, understanding the issues they have been facing in these unprecedented times and using the strength of SNIPEF to help them wherever we can.

“The terms and conditions of employment are very complex in modern industrial relationships and, by working together, we can guide employers on how not only to get the best out of their employees but also how they can attract new people into business.”

Stephanie Lowe said: “We are delighted to have Rosie in a full-time role in IR, for which she has shown a particular aptitude. She has been a great team member since she joined the organisation and we are certain that she will contribute handsomely.

“Her appointment not only reinforces SNIPEF’s commitment to fostering good industrial relations across the sector, but also illustrates the excellent upskilling and career opportunities for women in what is becoming an increasingly diverse industry.”

Rosie, 28, originally from East Lothian and now living in Edinburgh, attended the Mary Erskine School before studying at Queen Margaret University, where she gained a BA (Hons) in International Business Management (Hospitality and Tourism).

She joined SNIPEF in 2017, as an administrator with the Scottish and Northern Ireland Joint Industry Board (SNIJIB) which is made up of members of SNIPEF and Unite the Union. She completed a number of Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service training courses and gained a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Level 5 Diploma in HR Management.

Rosie said: “IR is dealing with a huge range of issues, with many, but not all, stemming from the pandemic. These include furlough and pay issues, ensuring employees are comfortable about returning to work and for instance, managing employee self-isolation.

“We also advise on apprenticeships, an area in which the sector has a proud record. We advise employers about what it means to take on an apprentice and how they can help beginners get the best out of an increasingly professional career.”

She added: “I am a great believer in HR being positioned, as a matter of strategy, at the top of any organisation. It should act as a partner in the business, with its input coming from CEO level and filtering down through management into all areas of work.

“It is a truism that people are a business’s most valuable asset, so it is of primary importance to know how to motivate them and how to get the best out of them. For that reason, HR should be viewed as one of the most valuable arms of the company.”

SNIPEF has been at the forefront of support for companies to ensure a vibrant and dynamic industry staffed by professionals versed in the complexity of the technologies which are underpinning renewables and meeting the demand for clean energy in an age of climate change.