Plumbers fit and service hot and cold water systems, heating systems and drainage networks.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could do a Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating.
This would teach you some of the skills needed for the job and will help you when applying for a trainee position with a plumbing company.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can do an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in plumbing and domestic heating. This can take up to 4 years.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as a plumber’s assistant or ‘mate’ and do training on the job to qualify. You’ll usually need some GCSEs, including English and maths, along with good practical skills.
You’ll need the following skills:
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with your hands
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
You’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site.
As a plumber, you’ll:
- find out from the customer what the problem is
- give time and cost estimates for jobs
- install water, drainage and heating systems
- cut, shape and join pipes and fittings
- find and fix faults
- service gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators
- install or repair domestic appliances like showers and washing machines
- respond to emergency call-outs, like boiler breakdowns or blocked drains
- fit weather-proof materials, joints and flashings to roofs, chimneys and walls
The following salaries are a guide only:
- Starter: £15,000
- Experienced: £40,000
- You may work evenings or weekends depending on the customer’s needs. Hours may be longer if you work on-site as a contractor.
You could work at a client’s home or at a client’s business.
Your working environment may be cramped, at height and outdoors some of the time.