A plumber is a tradesperson who specialises in installing, repairing and maintaining plumbing and heating systems.
Plumbers install and maintain water, drainage and heating systems. They cut, bend and join pipes and fittings, diagnose and fix faults and service appliances. In addition to actually carrying out the work mentioned, you would also be expected to measure, plan and cost out jobs for customers.
Things to consider include that fact that plumbers will often have to work at height or in small enclosed spaces. It’s generally a physically demanding job. The nature of the work means that you might need to work in the evening, at weekends and on national holidays.
How to become a plumber
To work as a plumber, you will need GCSEs in maths, English and science at grades 9 – 4 (A* – C). You might be able to gain these whilst completing an apprenticeship if you don’t have them already.
You will also need to hold a relevant industry recognised qualification to be registered as a plumbing and heating professional — so make sure that you look for courses and training providers that include gaining these.
The industry recognised qualifications you must have to register as a plumber:
In England and Wales: NVQ Level 2 or NVQ Level 3 in Heating and Plumbing (Level 2 is the minimum)
In Scotland: SVQ Level 3 in Heating and Plumbing
It is possible to get into plumbing by finding a trainee position where you can study for one of the qualifications listed above, by completing a college course or through an apprenticeship.
Plumber – Job prospects and pay
According to labour market information, the plumbing and heating workforce will grow by 2.3 per cent between now and 2024 and 26 per cent of the existing workforce are expected to retire, creating a further 50,000 jobs.