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Getting Started In Plumbing & Apprenticeships

Chris Derrer - Thursday, December 14, 2017
Being a plumber is actually a very rewarding occupation. It utilizes a person’s problem solving, troubleshooting and is also very practical and hands-on, if you’re into that… It also means you may be up to your ‘you know what’ in water at some point where you shouldn’t be, however that’s all a part of the fun… right? Okay maybe not, but on days when that doesn’t happen, you’ll go home feeling productive for the day. But how do you become a top plumber these days? Well we’re willing to impart some of our wisdom of the plumbing world and getting started onto some of you potential plumbers out there who are thinking of donning the chainmail (we mean overalls) and trusty noble steed… (the Van).

How do you get started in plumbing?

Well years ago when there was something called a YTS (Youth Training Scheme) training for tradesmen of all kinds was booming. It was a relatively cheap way of gaining the right qualifications, alongside the relevant workplace experience, to then have a job where you could be essentially self-employed by the end of it… Nowadays we call it an apprenticeship but they can be done in a variable mixture of subjects and interests, including NVQ level 2/3 plumbing, which is essential to become a plumber in England and Wales, Scotland requires a minimum of level 3 NVQ to become a plumber. Nowadays, apprenticeships for those who are young and/or are in education or training still are generally free for those who are studying and they get paid a wage as well, although it may not be that much for your first year or two, it’s surely worth it to be able to know everything required about plumbing so you can be essentially your own boss in a few years time?

Is a career in plumbing really for me?

Whether it is possible in your mind or not, you need to be able to cope with certain things being a plumber…. Water being one of them, obviously, but there are other things to consider, such as long days and long drives if you extend offers to clients who live far away. You must be hard-working, efficient and willing to learn all the time to keep up with the changes in the field which are common. You’ll need an eye and a brain for maths and science as well as the grit and stamina to work under questionable conditions – such as high or cramped spaces. Be sure that you’re okay for unsociable hours and weekend work if you eventually want to become your own boss at the end of it all, because that’s mainly when other people have the time to call a plumber. If you answered negatively to any of the questions above, you may want to re-consider the trade you’re going into. That’s not a bad thing, young people and those in training need time to figure things out and what works for them, it’s always a learning cycle of learn and apply.

What about the upsides?


There’s upsides to plumbing, plenty of them should you choose this very rewarding path. There is currently a shortage of skilled plumbers in the UK, so plumbers are in high demand and there’s plenty of work out there. There is also a movement to get more females into the profession of plumbers, because ladies in this line of work are scarce and therefore highly sought after. Plumbing work is generally well-paid due to the level of skill required to carry it out. You can expect to start on a solid wage after you’ve completed your training and for experienced workers or those who are self-employed the top end is limitless - just ask Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers. He started out as a plumber aged 15 and now owns a company that turned over more than £35m last year!


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