Plumbing is an essential trade, yet recent data shows that the number of people entering the plumbing industry has declined by 4.19% in the last 16 years. Plumbing is a fulfilling career route which offers excellent financial stability – with many traders being business owners by the age of 30. As a result of the falling figure, plumbing is now in more demand than ever, which makes this an excellent post-16 route. Here is everything you need to know about pursuing a career in this field.
Duties and Responsibilities
The main duty of a plumber is to maintain and fix the water systems in buildings. This is a highly skilled profession and requires you undertake a lot of important duties and responsibilities. The day-to-day tasks of a plumber can consist of, listening to problems from customers, giving customers a time and cost estimate of the job, installing, assembling, repairing pipes, installing heating and water systems, installing domestic appliances, and being on call for emergencies such as blocked drains or broken boilers. Whilst undergoing these tasks, the plumber has the responsibility to adhere to strict health and safety regulations which requires skill and attention to detail.
Qualifications and training
The route to becoming a plumber often requires getting the correct education and qualification, followed by relevant work experience. Many people choose to study a plumbing course at college, which usually last 1-2 years depending on if you have some or no experience. To enter on to a plumbing course you are usually required to have at least 2 (9 to 3 / A*-D) GCSE grades or equivalent for a level two, and 4 to 5 GCSE grades or equivalent (9 to 3 / A*-D) for level 3. Most courses also require you to have passed English and Maths at GCSE, which includes the ‘T Level’ option, a new technical based qualification available in the UK.
Others may learn best through hands on practical experience and opt for the Apprenticeship or Traineeship route. This will provide you with the relevant training and experience to become a qualified plumber through completing NVQ Level 2 and 3 diplomas. Apprenticeships are government funded in the UK so are an excellent post-16 route. To get on to an intermediate apprenticeship, GCSEs in Maths and English are usually required, and for an advanced course, you will need 5 GCSE Grades (9 to 4 / A*-C) including English and Maths.
You can also enter plumbing through working as a “mate” for a friend or family’s business. You will likely have GCSEs in Maths and English and excellent practical skills. Ensure you register with a certified plumbing body,where you can find further training and advertise yourself.
Tools and equipment needed
Having a good range of tools is essential for a career plumbing, so it is important that you do your research. An integral part of plumbing is pipe work, so you will need a variety of tools for this job. A key part of which is cutting, and a different tool for each form of cutting will be required. For cutting round holes, you will need a hole saw kit and for plastic tubes, a designated tube cutter.
For cutting, smoothing, polishing, and grinding metal, consider a cordless angle grinder for maximum power with the added accessibility that wireless appliances offer. For the remainder of your pipe work, you will need a mole grip to hold items in place when welding, a pipe bender, a blowtorch to apply heat, as well as sealing tape and press fitting systems to prevent leaks. Finally, do not forget your classic essentials like pliers, wrenches, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
If plumbing sounds like the route for you, do not hesitate to get the ball rolling. Becoming a plumber requires patience and attention but is highly rewarding. Starting salaries begin at around £18,000 per year and can increase to £40,000. Plumbing is a fail-safe route for the determined among us and promises excellent career progression. Get started today!