Plumber Pete takes on Bob the Builder

HELLO everyone. Here comes Pete the Plumber, hero of a new book designed to persuade five-year-olds of the joys of a career in the plumbing and heating industry. If Bob the Builder can top the charts and Fireman Sam front a TV show, what can stop Pete the Plumber from singlehandly reviving the fortunes of an industry?

Faced with a shortfall of 29,000 plumbers by 2005, the British Plumbing Employers' Council has created Pete.

In the book, Pete rescues a hapless couple who fiddled with a dripping tap and ended up flooding their house. Despite being made of copper pipes and plastic tubing, his skills bring order to watery chaos.

Kathryn Hopkins-Morgan, of the council, said: "It would be wonderful if someone wanted to write a song for Pete. We need to introduce the idea of these jobs early on."

The Institute of Directors recently called for more focus on vocational education, saying England needed more plumbers and fewer media studies graduates.

The average (gross) weekly earnings of plumbers is pound;436, compared to pound;595 for a male secondary teacher, pound;536 for a male primary, pound;527 for a female secondary and pound;502 for a female primary.

A second Pete the Plumber book for key stage 2 is also being published, with linked CD-Roms.

For more on Pete the Plumber email

Plumbing top five

1. Waterloo - Abba

2. Cistern Addict - Five Star

3. (D)raining in my heart - Buddy Holly

4. She came in through the bathroom window-The Beatles

5. Tanks for the memory-Bob Hope

... and anything by U-Bend40

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