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New plumbing training academy opens at Reading College

A new plumbing training academy opened at Reading College on Wednesday 2 December to support aspiring plumbers and existing engineers to improve their knowledge and skills in every aspect of water hygiene and treatment services.

02 December 2020


A new plumbing training academy opened at Reading College on Wednesday 2 December to support aspiring plumbers and existing engineers to improve their knowledge and skills in every aspect of water hygiene and treatment services. 

The new training facilities are a result of a longstanding partnership between Reading College and SMS Environmental, one of the UK’s leading water hygiene companies, who have worked with the college to build these new facilities. 

The new facilities feature brand new, purpose-built training bays designed to support plumbing students and existing engineers learn valuable hands-on experience. The training areas will allow leaders to develop a core set of water hygiene and treatment skills that are increasingly essential to the water hygiene sector specifically and the plumbing trade more generally.  

SMS Environmental will also be working with Reading College to offer courses and practical training sessions for plumbing students and existing engineers. Staff at Reading College will also receive additional training. 

This extended partnership between SMS Environmental and Reading College recognises the nationwide need for extended training on legionella awareness and water hygiene to be integrated into plumbing courses, not only to educate and teach students new skills, but also to train them on how application of good working practice will impact positively on the health of water systems they work on once they move from education to the workplace. 

Brian Cook does some water sampling training with Holly Lees

SMS Environmental is also committed to providing routes into employment for plumbing students through work experience placements and apprenticeships. 

John Sandford, CMIOSH Director of SMS Environmental said: “We are delighted to be making further long-term commitments to Reading College’s plumbing department, which continues to show a real pioneering spirit in its approach to learning.  

“For too long there has been a dearth of specific practical training courses available to employers in the water treatment industry and we have wanted to redress this balance for a while.  

“With SMS providing the expertise to run the new courses and in Activate Learning who are providing the spaces to do so, we believe we have found a true partnership approach that works for all. These courses should create benefits for both students, our employees and the wider public for years to come.” 


Mark Byerley, Director of Career Pathways, Technology faculty at Activate Learning said: “We are really pleased that SMS Environmental has demonstrated the commitment and desire to invest in our facilities and to provide training opportunities enabling our plumbing students to develop their knowledge, skills and experience in water hygiene and treatment.    

“We are extremely grateful to SMS Environmental for their ongoing commitment by improving the employability of our students by providing them with real life project scenarios, work experience placements and apprenticeship opportunities.” 

Find out more about plumbing courses at Activate Learning, please visit or contact us on 0800 612 6008.