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Helping you find a career in the Plumbing industry

With a skills shortage across the sector, it’s an excellent time to tap into plumbing. Our daily lives revolve around water. All of our homes, schools and hospitals rely on our water systems to deliver safe running water, drainage and heating.

When thinking of plumbing, people immediately think of repairing drains, sinks and toilets. Whilst these are vital jobs within the world of plumbing there’s so much more that your job could involve.

We rely on plumbers for the installation of water systems that will be used for generations to come. Any new-build, from a house to a hotel, will require plumbers to ensure that the waterworks are safe and sustainable.

As a plumber you could work for a private contractor and you will work on a project by project basis, which will be arranged for you. Some people prefer this to freelance because it provides a regular source of income and you do not have to worry about sourcing the next job.

There is work in the public sector as a plumber to help with the maintenance of public buildings. The NHS, for example, requires a whole maintenance team to ensure that the facilities are kept up and running for the public.

Some plumbers choose to go into the public sector and work within government to make sure research is carried out on our systems and that they remain safe. Another option is to progress into other areas of construction, such as estimating or engineering.

The huge range of work in plumbing means that you could find a role that suits your working preferences. For example, you could work on a freelance basis on your own fixing water-related problems in peoples’ homes, or you could work with a large firm and be a part of projects that will involve a team of people.


Skills & interests required for a career in Plumbing
No matter what role you go into within plumbing, you will have to be able solve complex, practical plumbing problems. A lot of this will come from experience, but you will need to have an affinity for problem solving.

It’s essential that you’re dexterous and physically able to do the work. Some roles can be quite physically demanding.

You will also need to be patient when approaching problems and you may be working with the public on a daily basis.

Plumbing requires a lot of dedication and hard work because the training process is quite lengthy and you should also remain up to date with any industry changes that might change how you do your work.

A drivers’ licence and health & safety will also be very helpful.
- Customer Service
- Health and safety
- Numeracy
- Resilience
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Plumbing
There are numerous different career progression routes within plumbing.

You may want to work for yourself or set up your own business and plumbing is a great way to enable this.

In a larger company, like a contractor, there may be more opportunities for progression as you could potentially explore other areas of the business. As the larger projects will also have larger teams, there could be the opportunity to move into a team leader position.

There is the option to broaden your skill set and move into wider construction roles through taking a Higher National Diploma (HND). You could go into building engineering, for example, or estimating.

There is also the option to join the Gas Safe Register or gain a qualification with the Oil Firing Association (OFTEC). Then you would be able to work with gas or oil fired appliances and become an engineer. Some companies will offer to pay for this additional qualification if they have a role that will require you to do this.

Finally, with experience and higher level qualifications you could move into consultancy or work within the government in the public health sector.
Tips for getting into the field
Arrange some work experience shadowing a plumber. This will enable you to see what the day-to-day work will be like and if you can visualise yourself doing it.
How much can graduates earn in Plumbing?
An apprentice wage is £3.70 per hour. Once a qualified plumber you can expect to earn £21,000 a year and with experience this will increase to between £30,000-£35,000.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Plumbing?
To be a plumber you have to have the NVQ Diploma (levels 2 and 3) in plumbing and domestic heating. These qualifications have both theoretical and practical elements, so you will have to do a work placement so that you are able to pass the practical elements of the course.

To work on a construction site you will have to pass the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. This is so that you are able to work safely on a construction site.
Read more about the Plumbing industry
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