It is reported that there are over 120,000 qualified plumbers within the UK, however despite these numbers, the plumbing sector is suffering a significant skills gap and in some areas of the country, it is reported that one plumber could service up to 305 households.
Generally speaking, plumbers employed with a company, tend to work up to 40 hours per week, with many of these companies offering customers emergency call outs/support 24/7. Employed plumbers can expect to be placed onto a rota system to cover unsociable hours.
Self-employed plumbers often work more than 40 hours per week, however they have the ability to set their own charges and be selective over the types of jobs that they take. This flexibility often leads them into the type of plumbing work which can be very lucrative.
Initially a newly qualified plumber can expect to earn between £15,000 – £20,000 per year working for a company. If you plan on being self-employed, your earning potential will depend upon the type of work you carry out, the rate you charge and the frequency of how often the work is that you complete.
Daily tasks can vary and are very much dependent upon your skill set – some plumbers prefer to focus upon bathroom re-fit, whilst others specialise in emergency call outs and repairs. Your qualifications and experience can be a very important factor when it comes to what you are likely to be doing each day.
It is possible for a plumber to work in both the domestic and commercial sectors – naturally, commercial plumbers can demand a higher rate of pay owing to the type of work that they carry out.
Is plumbing a high risk factor role?
As with any industry or trade, each job can come with a certain degree of risk. These are mainly specific to your working environment and are scenarios that can be managed by introducing control measures to reduce the potential risk.
- Working predominantly in an environment that can be damp
- Working in confined or cramped spaces
- Heavy lifting
- Chemical exposure from materials
- Electricity – water and electrics do not mix
It is exceptionally important to make sure that once you are qualified, that you take additional training courses to make sure that you are aware on how to work safely – these are offered via online learning specialists and can be completed in a relatively short space of time. Some recommended courses are –
- Working from Heights
- Manual Handling
- Working in Confined Spaces
How do you know where to start?
Knowing exactly where to start in your journey to plumbing, can often be a little confusing, therefore by speaking to someone who already works within the trade can be exceptionally useful. Often, you will find that they can inspire you and give you some great pointers to help you on the right path.
Alternatively, you can speak to a Careers Advisor if you are still in full time education and see if a plumbing apprenticeship is the right choice for you. Hands on training apprenticeships are growing increasingly popular as they are a great introduction to the industry and you can also get paid whilst you learn.
Many larger companies offer direct plumbing apprenticeships, meaning that you will most likely work 5 days a week, with one of those dedicated to studying for your qualification. By researching local companies, it is wise to contact them and see if they are offering apprenticeships. These can usually take between 2 and 5 years to complete.
Over the age of 24? You may be able to benefit from an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the cost of training. Find out more information visit https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan
What Plumbing Course Should You Take?
You don’t have to be an apprentice in order to start a course. Many learners opt for courses in order to enter into a new career, which is a common pathway to achieving an industry recognised qualification. Generally speaking, the length of time it takes from course commencement to course completion is drastically shorter in comparison to a traditional apprenticeship.
A natural progression path for many plumbers is to eventually hold qualifications for being able to work on gas appliances, therefore initially it is beneficial to understand the most cost effective and easiest way to achieve certification.
Initially becoming a plumber is an excellent way to enter the industry, as the ability to upskill or go in a completely different direction once you have gained experience is monumental.