How to become a Plumber
How to become a plumber in the UK
Whether you’ve just left school, or you’re contemplating a career change, plumbing is and has historically been an excellent career to get into. The pay is great, the hours are flexible, and you get to work on interesting problems that will challenge you mentally and physically. The media depicts plumbers as slow, lumbering oafs who fix kitchen sinks and toilets, but this could not be further from the truth for most professional plumbers in the UK! The truth is, plumbers work on a great variety of pipe systems, both water and gas, and play an instrumental role in their design, construction, and maintenance. The types of systems you will be able to work on is limited by the training you have, which is why it is instrumental to take the correct plumbing courses. Usually, your prospective employer will let you know what kinds of certifications you will need to work with their clients, and our DVD plumbing course contains lots of resources to help you figure out what plumbing courses you need to take to do the work that you want.
If you’ve been to other sites, you may have seen many articles claiming that there is a huge shortage of plumbers in the UK. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Don’t be discouraged by this harsh truth! Even though there is not a shortage of would-be plumbers in the UK, there is still a very high demand for qualified plumbers. Because of the way that the certification system works, anyone can call themselves a plumber, put a listing in the phone book or online, and begin offering their services as a domestic plumber. The majority of these plumbers are glorified handymen, and have never taken a plumbing course. Because of this, they are not eligible to be hired by most plumbing companies, and cannot take on more specialized, high paying work and are barred from doing plumbing work on construction sites. Many people have become successful working as self-employed plumber without any training whatsoever, but if you decide to take this route be prepared for some fierce competition and have fun spending your days fixing sinks and toilets!
This is where proper training comes in. Plumbing companies turn away these unqualified plumbers in droves, preferring to only take plumbers which have an NVQ level 2 qualification or above. With such a qualification, you will always be in demand. In fact, recent reports indicate that NVQ qualified plumbers are in high demand overseas as well, and many firms in Australia are actively recruiting these highly competent individuals! In short, there is a high demand for plumbers in the UK, but only for those plumbers that hold an NVQ level 2 qualification or above.
Getting an NVQ
An NVQ level 2 can be awarded by several official organizations, the most widely recognized and respected is City & Guilds. To obtain a City & Guilds NVQ 2, you must complete four to six on-the-job assessments under the supervision of a licensed assessor and submit a portfolio of your work demonstrating your competency in several plumbing projects. There are many paths you can take to accomplish this. The most common is to be accepted into a plumbing apprenticeship, which has the benefits of giving you valuable on-the-job experience and a place to complete your on-site assessments. As part of a plumbing apprenticeship, you also get paid as you learn and the costs of any plumbing courses you take is covered for you by either your employer or the government! Our site has several great resources and tips for finding and applying for apprenticeships.
Another method for getting an NVQ level 2 is to take the NVQ 6189-11plumbing course. This course is often taken as part of an apprenticeship, but can be taken independently as well. It is offered at many colleges and training centres around the UK, and can be completed in as little as 6-8 weeks as a full-time student or spread out over evenings and/or weekends if you are currently working another job or are part of an apprenticeship. Factoring in the time required to complete on-site assessments, this means that you could become a fully licensed plumber in as little as six months! These courses can be expensive, so be sure to read up on how you can get funding for your plumber courses.
This should get you started on the path to becoming a plumber, but be sure to check out the other articles on our site for more specific info on finding and successfully applying for plumbing courses and apprenticeships. Our DVD course is a great tool to set you on the path to becoming a professional qualified plumber.