What's it like to train as a plumber?

Carrying out messy but necessary jobs in the home can sometimes be greeted with anything but a smile, but plumbers are trained to deal with any eventuality to do with your water supply. Whilst it may not be the most glamorous of jobs, it's a profession that can prove to be extremely worthwhile and savvy in the long run. 

If you're looking for a career in a proactive, practical and dynamic sector, plumbing may be the answer, however it can be demanding role requiring hard work, time and patience. 

Currently the sector is experiencing a lack of skilled workers with some 30,000 jobs awaiting to be filled post-recession but despite recent figures, it is an industry that is forever in high demand and perfect for those who like a challenge.


In order to begin to climb the career ladder in the plumbing industry, firstly you must be in possession of a level two or three plumbing qualification.

There are a number of routes into the sector, with the most popular being an apprenticeship that allows you to learn the ropes and gain experience whilst on the job. 

Apprenticeships are often in conjunction with a college course, combining the practical and theory elements of the role. On average it takes two to three years to complete, before an individual is fully qualified. 

However, in order to begin to work within the profession an individual must be certified and hold ACS accreditations in a number of relevant areas, such as gas fires, cookers and hobs and be registered on the Gas Safe Register. 


Life as a plumber is ever-changing and no two days are the same, with any number of tasks waiting to be carried out and a constant change of employer and job location. 

Daily duties will vary and there are a number of tasks that may be required dependent on the customer. From the installation and maintenance of heating systems to servicing air conditioning and ventilation units and carrying out emergency repairs, there are many different elements to the role that all fall under the same bracket. 

Communication is key 

Many plumbers are self-employed, meaning the industry can often rely on word-of-mouth and customer recommendations to secure new clients. Most of the working day can be spent with customers or on-site, which means consistency, great customer service skills and a can-do attitude are just a handful of the characteristics required to succeed in the industry.

Working hours

One of the perks of being a self-employed plumber is the ability to choose your own hours and ultimately, become your own boss. Many plumbers set their own hours, allowing time for holidays and social activities. 

However it is worth remembering that emergencies can occur at any time of day (or night), leading to working unsociable hours, needing to be on call and allowing time to travel in-between locations. Beware a burst tap may occur at the most inconvenient of times. 


If you feel plumbing is the industry for you, despite the perks it can be a hard and rigorous profession, yet it also has the potential to become extremely financially rewarding. 

Many newly-qualified plumbers begin their career within a firm with a starting wage estimated to begin at around £21,000 per year, but this has the potential to grow into the region of £30-35,000 with experience.

In regards to those who are self-employed, rates may vary across the region and one of the advantages of working for yourself allows individuals to set their own rates. 

Future development 

Whilst the industry may still be climbing back to good health following the recession, there is scope for development and excellent future prospects within the sector. The skills developed on the job can often be applied to other industries and having specialist knowledge of a specific area, such as solar heating systems or rainwater harvesting could lead to career progression in like-minded sectors. 

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