Plumber

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

 

College

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.

Entry Requirements

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

 

Apprenticeship

You can do an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in plumbing and domestic heating. This can take up to 4 years.

Entry Requirements

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

 

Working Conditions

  • 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.

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