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Plumber Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Plumber. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Plumber
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Plumber Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

This website features a volume of Job vacancies advertised on behalf of a number of different employers and specialist recruiters that post vacancies on a regular basis so you can start your search for work right here:-

Click here to View all the latest Plumber jobs online today

 

We feature many Plumbing Jobs live online at this site and these posts are updated daily. Please book mark this page and return here on a regular basis or register with our site for Jobs by email so that you don't miss out on the latest work opportunities.

Working Duties Expected

Plumbers install, maintain and repair hot and cold water supplies, sanitation and waste disposal systems, and oil, gas and solid fuel appliances and central heating. In industrial buildings and offices, plumbers also work on other piped services, such as air-conditioning and extraction systems. Outside buildings, they make weather-proofing joints in roofs and walls using sheet metals and other materials, and install gutters and drainpipes.

The work involves a wide variety of skills, tools and materials, many of which are used in specialised plumbing work in the chemical, ship and gas fitting industries. Plumbers may have to make decisions about the design of plumbing systems on smaller contracts, and all work must comply with regulations. They assemble a great deal of the plumbing in on-site workshops, so that work in the buildings themselves is kept to a minimum.

Hours and Environment

Working hours vary, with out of hours work at weekends or in the evening frequently required.

Plumbers work both indoors and outdoors, sometimes in cold, wet or dirty conditions and in cramped and uncomfortable positions under floorboards or at heights, fixing guttering or flashings. Travel from site to site is usually required, sometimes throughout the country, and this may mean staying away from home for short or long periods.

Skills and Interests

To be a plumber you should:

  • be able to follow drawings and plans
  • have good practical and problem-solving skills
  • have a careful, accurate and methodical approach
  • be able to work at heights and in confined spaces
  • be reasonably fit to carry tools and materials
  • be aware of safety issues and regulations
  • be able to work both as part of a team and alone
  • have a pleasant manner for dealing with customers.


Entry

England and Wales
To qualify as a plumber you will need:

City & Guilds (6089) NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Plumbingand
City & Guilds (6129) Level 2 Basic Plumbing Skills and (6129) Level 3 Plumbing Studies.
If you are not employed in the industry, you will need to start at a college or training centre by undertaking a technical certificate - City & Guilds (6129) Level 2 Basic Plumbing Skills before progressing on to the City & Guilds (6129) Level 3 Plumbing Studies.
The technical certificates cover the theory, underpinning knowledge and some practical skills required to move on to the NVQ qualifications outlined in Training below. They do not prove occupational competence as a plumber, only the NVQ can do this. However, the technical certificates can be used as a stepping stone in to employment within the industry. Once in a job, you would continue training towards the NVQ.

Modules covered by the certificates include: hot and cold water systems, sanitation systems, central heating systems and health and safety.

There are no set entry requirements for courses and apprenticeships, but normally you will need at least four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), or equivalent vocational qualifications. Maths, English, science, and design and technology subjects are useful for parts of the job that involve measurements, and for theoretical training.

Entry requirements may be relaxed for mature entrants but you will be expected to pass a selection test at the training centre.

It is strongly recommended that you try to gain employment with a plumbing firm as soon as possible after starting the technical certificates in order to complete the NVQ qualification.

The technical certificates may be available on an intensive basis including practical workshops. To be recognised by training centres or employers, they must be accredited by City & Guilds. Self study courses are also available but are only theoretical and lead to a certificate of achievement which may contribute evidence towards a formal award. Again, these courses do not prove occupational competence; you would need to complete the full NVQ to demonstrate that.

NB. The City & Guilds 6129 replaces the Foundation Certificate in Plumbing (6988). Existing holders of the Foundation Certificate can still use this for entry on to the City & Guilds (6129) Level 2. The Foundation Certificate may still be available at certain training centres or colleges for the next few months. Check with individual training providers.

For information on entry routes into plumbing, training providers and qualifications, contact SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for Electrotechnical, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Plumbing Industries - details below.

Scotland and Northern Ireland
Technical certificates are not available in these areas so the SVQ/NVQ is the main route into the industry. For details of training schemes contact apprenticeship organisations listed in Training.

Training

If you are already employed within the industry without qualifications, you can work directly towards City & Guilds (6089) Level 2 and 3 NVQ/SVQ in Plumbing. As well as assessing your practical skills, the NVQ will incorporate the technical knowledge-based certificates.

The NVQ/SVQ is normally available on a part-time or day-release basis through colleges and training centres.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).

Mature apprenticeship schemes for existing employees over 25 are being developed. For details of local provision, contact local colleges and training centres. Employers looking for details of how to set up mature apprenticeship schemes should contact their Local Learning and Skills Council.

Once you have gained the NVQ Level 3 in Plumbing, you can undergo assessment for ACS gas safety leading to CORGI registration; assessment on water regulations; and assessment on unvented hot water systems to indicate competence for building regulations.

Once qualified as a plumber you can continue training to reach NVQ/SVQ level 4 or 5. You can also take qualifications in related subjects, such as welding or electrical installation, including NVQs/SVQs.

Plumbers who are taking a recognised qualification can become trainee members of the Institute of Plumbing. Qualified plumbers can apply for full membership. The Institute also has information on its website for people looking to train as plumbers. See contacts below.

For existing plumbers and new entrants, the British Plumbing Employers' Council (BPEC) offer a variety of training resources including ACS assessment preparation, NVQ learning support modules and practical business guides. Contact BPEC for details.

From April 2005 stringent controls on the energy efficiency of domestic boilers are being introduced through Building Regulations. To meet these new standards the Energy Saving Trust, in conjunction with local Learning and Skills Councils and partners, are providing one-day training and assessment workshops for gas installers, plumbers and domestic heating engineers. The workshops lead to the City & Guilds Certificate in Energy Efficiency for Domestic Heating (6084). At the moment the award is a voluntary qualification. For details see Further Information below.

Opportunities

Plumbers may work for plumbing or mechanical engineering services contractors, which range from small businesses to larger companies, and also building contractors and public sector bodies such as local authorities. In the ship, chemical and gas industries, plumbers work for specialist contractors, or directly for companies. Plumbers may transfer into the heating, ventilation, refrigeration, electrical and air-conditioning industries or run their own specialised sections in larger companies. There may be opportunities to work abroad on contracts, and many opt for self-employment.

Higher level NVQs in Building Services are available for those intending to progress to estimating, design or management.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only. Income for plumbers is in accordance with nationally agreed rates.

Trainee plumbers earn between £12,000 and £15,000 a year.
Qualified plumbers earn around £18,500 a year.
Experienced plumbers can earn from £22,500 upwards a year.

Self-employed plumbers may have higher earnings.

Further information

SummitSkills
Tel: 08000 688 336
www.summitskills.org.uk

British Plumbing Employers' Council (BPEC)
14-15 Ensign House
Ensign Business Centre
Westwood Way
Coventry
CV4 8JA
Tel: 024 7647 0626
www.bpec.org.uk

The Institute of Plumbing
64 Station Lane
Hornchurch
Essex
RM12 6NB
Tel: 01708 472791
www.plumbers.org.uk

Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers' Federation
2 Walker Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7LB
Tel: 0131 225 2255
www.snipef.org.uk

Energy Saving Trust
Tel: 08080 100222
www.est.org.uk

Other Useful Plumbing Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Plumbing job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Plumbing Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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