If you’re thinking if plumbing might be the right career choice for you, then you’ve probably already worked out that plumbing can be a very satisfying career for those who choose it. Being a plumber can be very rewarding financially and (once fully trained) one of the few true ‘Jobs for Life’ that are left these days.
It also gives you options. For example, you could become employed and work for a plumbing company for a regular wage, or you could do contract work on large projects or you could set up on your own and become self-employed and be your own boss!
Another benefit of being a plumber is because of the high demand for skilled plumbers you could emigrate to more sunnier climes! Places like Canada (Ok, it’s not that sunny!), Australia and New Zealand have open door skilled migration policies for people with these skills.
Furthermore, once you’re qualified, you are a skilled worker and nobody can take that away from you. So you’re sold, you want to be a plumber, but how do you go about becoming one?
Well, one option (and probably the best one if you’re just out of school) is a plumbing apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is the traditional way in which people would learn their craft whether they are plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc…
You’ll EARN while you LEARN on an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship would usually last up to 2 to 4 years, during which your time is spent between the classroom of your local training college where you would learn the technical theory of plumbing and out on the job where you would work alongside an experienced plumber being shown a lifetimes worth of practical knowledge that cannot be taught with a textbook.
Along with being taught the practical skills, being around an experienced plumber for this length of time you will get to know a network of tradesmen and construction workers in your area, and that makes getting work in the future that much easier.
In regards to what you’ll be earning during the course of your apprenticeship, you would be paid a basic salary of at least £95 per week (often more that this). Because while there is no fixed rate of pay for people on apprenticeships, all employed apprentices must receive a wage of at least £2.60 per hour.
Apprenticeships usually start in September to coincide with the start of the new college year, but this can vary depending upon an employers need.
At the end of your apprenticeship you would be a fully experienced plumber and have an NVQ Level 3 to show for it.
Found a nice video here, giving an insight into apprentices day to day work and training activities.
How to get on an Apprenticeship Scheme?
There are no formal entry qualifications to start an apprenticeship. However, applicants are normally be aged between 16 and 24 and have normal colour vision. If you are over the age of 24 you may struggle to get on an apprenticeship scheme. There are a limited number of apprentice placements per year, so competition for them is fierce.
A good idea could be to ring your local plumbing firms (or even your local plumber) and ask if they would be interested in taking on an apprentice, you may get lucky!
Alternatively, you can visit the governments apprenticeship website, where you can get further information and request an information pack.
If you’d like to speak to someone about a plumbing apprenticeship, including how to apply, call the government’s free “National Apprenticeships Helpline”.
- Apprenticeships Helpline: 08000 150 600
If you would like to start searching for an apprenticeship right away then click here to search the national apprenticeship database. It lists all the current places available at local training colleges from all over the country.
In addition, if you find you cannot get on an apprenticeship scheme for one reason or another, you have other options; you could consider an intensive plumbing training course which are available at training centres all over the UK.
Good Luck, Future Plumbers!