There has never been a better time to become a plumber, especially in these new and exciting times with new technology being developed on a regular basis. If you enjoy carrying out practical tasks then you will really get a kick out of being a plumber. Your day to day work could include servicing, repairing and fitting heating systems and also water pipes into customer’s homes or business premises. Being a plumber will include the skill of having to follow technical plans and drawings and it would be a good thing to have a well organised approach to your work. Good customer skills are essential and also you have to be up to speed with the health and safety regulations.
You may be wondering what qualifications you’ll need to become qualified well the answer to this question does really depend on the experience you already have if any. The more experienced you are in the industry means you can start your training at a different level compared to someone with no experience at all but the basic levels are levels 2 and 3, you’ll definitely need these. We’ll go into more detail on this a little later.
What will I be doing as a plumber?
Ok so as we said earlier they deal with heating and water pipes and they also handle drainage, they service gas and oil fired central heating systems, boilers and radiators, they also install and repair appliances in the home that would include washing machines and showers. Plumbers also service ventilation units and also air conditioning systems either at a business premises or in their customer’s homes. As a plumber you could also have to fit weather proof materials and flashings to walls, joints and chimneys. Your jobs would involve the use of hand power tools and also welding equipment.
As you gain more experience you can go on to specialise in sheet metal work for a variety of buildings including, commercial buildings, historical buildings and industrial buildings.
How many hours a week do plumbers work?
So the average week of a plumber is around 40 hours and then there’s the option of overtime, remember that if you’re going to be working for a company then some of these do offer customers 24 hr call outs as well as evenings, weekends and public holidays. However if you’re planning on becoming a self employed plumber then you can choose when you work. Another thing to consider is that sometimes you may be on a job that’s far from home and so overnight stays may be necessary and so a driver’s license would be of great benefit to you.
What are the wages like?
Well very good really plumbers are very well paid as they are in such demand and a newly qualified plumber can expect to earn between £16,500 and £21,000 a year. The more experienced you are the more you’ll be earning, more experienced plumbers earn between £21,000 and £35,000 a year. Please be aware that rates do vary for different companies with the highest rates being in the London and South East of the UK.
Self employers also have the added benefit of being able to set their own rates.
I want to begin training, where do I start?
So you’ve decided to start training, good choice, well to become fully qualified you’ll require a level 2 or 3 award. As we said earlier the level you need to start at will be determined by any previous experience you may already have.
The main qualifications that are required are level 2/3 diploma in plumbing and heating and also level 2/3 diploma installing and maintaining domestic heating systems.
Another route into the industry is through an plumbing apprenticeship scheme, whereby you’ll be trained up by an already qualified plumber who will train you up to the standard that’s required of you. This way you’ll be getting hands on experience on the job and also completing your theory parts in the classroom.
Full time and part time courses are available and they cover absolutely everything you need to know be become fully qualified.
Home distance courses are another option, however, be careful as some don’t cover enough of the practical parts you’ll need to gain your skills.
More information on a plumbing qualifications can be found www.plumbing-apprenticeships.co.uk and www.cityandguilds.com
Well that’s all there is to it really, as you can see plumbing is really exciting and hugely rewarding as a career choice, it’s very well paid as you’ll always be in demand, someone, somewhere, always needs a plumber, so just go for it, I’m certain you won’t regret it. Good luck with it!